When last we met, we had finished with the end of the Living Story Season 2. The Pact fleet had been destroyed, Caithe had once again absconded with the egg, and we had no idea where any of the members of Destiny’s Edge were, or if they were even alive. We were at least lucky because with the Heart of Thorns teaser we found out Rytlock would be returning, so that was a bit of relief.
Having just played everything one after the other (and knowing what comes later) one thing stood out a lot more to me than it originally did. At the end of Point of No Return, Braham had the chance to go with Destiny’s Edge on the ship, but he decided finding the egg was more critical. However, from the first moments of the expansion story all, he was interested in was Eir. It makes sense though because his last conversation with her was her apologizing for not being there for him growing up, and him telling her he understood and was ok with everything. Considering how much resentment he had towards her previously, this was a pretty huge step. They were even planning on going on a hunt together after Mordremoth was killed. With all this in mind, I can understand why he cared less about the egg at that point.
Jumping back to Season two briefly; during the storyline of trying to gather the world leaders together, we had to do a side quest with Rytlock. You see, his fiery sword is a human relic from Ascalon which supposedly was given to the Ascalonian royalty by Balthazar. Rytlock decided to use the sword in a ritual to try and cleanse Ascalon of the ghosts who occupied the area. However, the ritual went awry, and Sohothan vanished into the mists. Rytlock, of course, jumped in after it. From that point, until he shows up at the beginning of the HoT story (or the trailers), he was missing, and we didn’t have any idea if he was still alive.
I had completely forgotten the fact he shows-up out nowhere by just merely stepping out of the mists as if it were no big deal. Of course, since he is now a Revenant stepping through the mists isn’t a big deal for him. He offers very little explanation of how he learned his new abilities saying there are many legends, both heroes and villains, in the mists, and he learned to harness their power. Which… yea, sure, makes everything crystal clear there buddy. As far as any explanation of what else he saw and experienced while in the mists, he was utterly mum about.
Right after entering Verdant Brink for the first time we were brought face to face with one of the significant issues of the HoT expansion: can sylvari be trusted? In that moment, Laranthir was the focus as the other troops with him were questioning if they should listen to him and if it’s worth looking for the missing soldiers who were all sylvari. However, even though this was the focus, it was also very much on my mind if Caithe could be trusted or not. She had seemed to act very rashly with the egg twice so far, and we had no idea if she was still trustworthy or not. Even if when we last talked to her, she was still with us; she could have turned since then. Plus, the fact she seemed to be taking the egg to Mordremoth made what she was doing even more questionable.
There were some neat little moments in this story where if you were playing a Sylvari you’d hear Mordremoth talking to you. This is one area I wish ArenaNet had an unlimited budget to put things in the game. It would have been cool to make these moments where you as a player, (if you were a sylvari) had to fight off his influence in some way. They could have even made it happen more often and be harder to resist as we moved closer to him. Of course, all of that would have opened a whole host of other problems to be dealt with as well, but it would have been neat.
One of the new additions with HoT was the Itzil and Nuhoch hylek tribes. Our first introduction was by helping to defend Ibli and Tizlak from an attack of Mordrem. After earning their trust by either defending the Itzil village or leading an attack on the Mordrem directly, they offer to help with the finding of Destiny’s Edge, and also Rytlock and Braham. You see, Braham didn’t see the point of going and wasting time trying to get allies when what they needed to do was find Eir ASAP. Patience was never one of his virtues, after all. Rytlock went along with Braham to help keep the young Norn out of trouble.
After following either the Itzil or Nuhoch scouts, we eventually met up with Braham and Rytlock at a Mordrem prison camp. After fighting our way through a lot of Mordrem and opening a bunch of cages, we eventually find Eir and Faolain. In case you somehow forgot who Faolain was she was the head of the Nightmare Court, and among many other terrible things, she also blithely killed peaceful centaurs and was going to torture another Sylvari to find out the secret Mordremoth created the Sylvari. She was all-around bad news.
As Eir and Faolain are escaping their cage, a large Vinetooth attacks them and rather than taking her chances with Eir Faolain stabs her in the side to slow her down. The kicker is this terrible act doesn’t even save Faolain; she gets caught and killed anyway. Eir, realizing she’s now gravely hurt and trying to get her through the jungle injured as she was would just put everyone else in danger. So, she decides to make a noble sacrifice and dies standing on her feet, not running away. It was a good choice on her part; I just wish she had gone down fighting. Even if she tried fruitlessly to punch the Vinetooth that would have been something. Overall, despite how upset I was by her death, I like this choice for her. In the end, she chose to sacrifice herself to protect everyone she cared about.
Unfortunately, all this noble sacrifice on her part was completely undone a few seconds later when we all charged in and killed the Vinetooth. If she had just tried to dodge attacks for a minute or something, we could have saved her. Or what would have made more sense is Eir decides to sacrifice herself, we recognize the sacrifice for what it was, and rather than rushing in we escape dragging Braham behind us the whole way. That, however, would have left her body for Mordremoth to make into minions, which would have been even worse. Out of the entire HoT storyline, this is the single moment which bothered me the most. I loved Eir, so I was upset to see her die. I was also frustrated because it seemed like her death was for no good reason.
This happy note is where Act I of the Heart of Thorns storyline leaves off. We found Eir but weren’t able to save her. Logan, Zojja, and Treahearn were all still missing. Plus we knew Caithe had gone deeper into the jungle with the egg, according to her to protect it which seemed sort of insane. And this is where we’ll pick-up next time!