Lore behind the raid: Forsaken Thicket, Salvation Pass

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A few weeks ago the second raid wing Forgotten Thicket: Salvation Pass was released, and just like the first wing Spirit Vale, it seems pretty obvious running through it. Some difficult bosses, nice rewards and this time with a nice cinematic at the end. But this time again there is a lot more that’s hidden lorewise, somethings that are confirmed and easy to see, other things just hinting at stuff or just real overspeculation. There is so much to write about for sure.

One thing that Salvation Pass reveals is that we are not finished with the White Mantle yet. During the raid there are several torn pages we can find, the ones required for the Scattered Memories achievement. These pages tell us the story how this scholar figured out who they were dealing with and, more important, reveal to us how much of a threat the White Mantle still are for the people in Kryta.

“… shocked. I heard two whispered words today that made my blood run cold: ‘White Mantle.’ I pretended not to hear, or I’m sure I’d be…”

“I have not yet told my fellow unfortunates what I know. The name ‘White Mantle’ would terrify them even more than the brigands’ threats.”

“They speak of Kryta as though it were stolen from them. Logic tells me that their intended outcome is to usurp the throne. More boldly, they speak of power as if it were the trophy they seek.”

“…can now imagine what my ancestors experienced…long ago when the White Mantle invaded…kingdom and homes. My appreciation of Queen…benevolence grows with each atrocity…”

“They said, and I quote, ‘We will once again rule Kryta when he gets here.’ I don’t know who ‘he’ is. If I live long enough, I’ll do my best to…”

The lines above come from some of the pages this scholar wrote in his notebook, noting everything he saw. In the final phase of the raid we meet his wife, holding the cover of the book, the pages scattered around the raid wing. The scholar himself was sacrificed on an altar. It’s a shame actually, cause that scholar wrote down so much interesting and unbelievable things I would love to have been able to talk to him myself, but all we have are these scatered notes left behind. Just look at those lines above, it’s terrifying. And what’s worse is that it’s not just the memory of the White Mantle, and all of the evil things they did in the past, but the fact that it’s happening right now as well. Their agent’s are based in Divinity’s Reach, as well as other places, and they are actually spreading their influence. But something has changed, those sacrifices are fuelling their magic, something big is ont it’s way. They are waiting untill he gets here. Who is he?

Once we killed the final boss, Matthias Gabrel (who actually is a White Mantle) we get to see this nice cinematic about the White Mantle and Mursaat, basically a lore recap, but we also get a chance to talk to Squad Leader Bennet, the person we wanted to find since the start of the first wing, and he has some interesting dialogue there.

He’s convinced they are the White Mantle, religious fanatics, and operating secretely in this area for a long time, so long that know one can actually know how strong the grew. And he’s wondering why they are sacrificing those people and harnessing their magic, “the Mursaat are all dead.” “Unless…. no, I don’t even want to think about that.”

His information about the Bloodstone and the Mursaat is even more interisting. Their weapons are imbued with powerful magic and he’s convinced it has something to do with the Bloodstone, “a relic that can store vast amounts of magical energy, including the souls of those sacrificed.” The Mursaat used the Bloodstone in the past to keep their enemies away, but all of the Mursaat were killed except one, Lazarus. Most people think that he did die as well, but there is still a chance that he is alive, and maybe under their protection.

Is that who the “He” is the Scholar wrote about? There are a few possibilities here, important figures to the White Mantle, like Saul D’Alessio or, indeed, Lazarus. One thing that, for me at least, rules out Saul D’Alessio is how Narella uses his name in her Journal, “So help me Saul”. She is using his name as a sort of incantation, calling upon someone passed away, unreachable, not someone who she hopes is returning soonish.

I really think that it is the Mursaat they’re talking about (and they were once hiding in the mists, so there is always that possibility that some of them are still alive in there), Lazarus most likely being the one they are referring to. He split himself up in aspects in the past, hiding himself in those White Mantle surrounding him. When he started to assemble himself again everything went pretty good (except that the White Mantle host would die) up until the last piece. Justiciar Naveed tried to find a way to extract the aspect in a way he would still survive, but he failed. Not only did he die, but the aspect was badly damaged, and this damaged aspect wounded Lazarus severely. Lazarus fled, vowing vengance on countless generations. No one knows what happened to him afterwards, if he had died or survived, so both options are open here. But he definetly is someone the White Mantle would love to see back, one of the Unseen, one of their Gods, and they would do a lot of things to make that happen.

Just look at the consequences if that happens, the fear that the White Mantle and Mursaat still hold to the people in Kryta would be a threat to the whole country. They already have accumulated a lot of power, in charge of people/places that matters, but having that grasp of fear on the people would be the best power they could get. It would destabilize the Krytan government, the Queen would be in a lot of danger and another Krytan Civil war would be incoming. Not just that, we know that they have formed an alliance with the Inquest and Nightmare Court, the Sinister Triad, and an alliance with the Flame Legion wouldn’t be that far off (especially if the Titans maybe are involved).

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Back to the Raid lore now tho, in the end we get to fight the final raid boss, Matthias Gabrel. He is the leader of the bandits in the raid, but he is also an inquisitor of the White Mantle and some of his dialogue is just so amazing. “I am the scythe, the bringer of salvation. And I shall harverst the souls of the unbelievers (For their stench will linger, until the false gods are cast from this world)”. These words are the things Justiciar Hablion said when he was sacrificing people on the Maguuma Bloodstone back in Guild Wars Prophecies. So people definetly are being sacrificed on the Bloodstone again, they are harvesting their souls, but for what reason? Healing Lazarus? But they have never used the Bloodstone for healing purposes.

“Or do they still want to prevent the Titans to enter this world through the Door of Komalie?”

This was the reason why the White Mantle sacrificed those people back in Guild Wars Prophecies, charging Soul Batteries so they could keep the door of Komalie shut, guarding the world against the threats of the Titans.

One thing that has me wondering is the way the fighting mechanics of Matthias Gabrel works. He is using these elemental skills, fire, ice, storm, and some of them an actually be countered by using the opposite element. This reminds me of the Titans. The Titans came in a lot of forms, some elemental others with a different focus, but a lot of them could be countered by using the opposite aspect of that skill.

Of course that could just be a coincedence, but…

The reason why the White Mantle and Mursaat where sacrificing people was to keep the Door of Komalie closed, so they would prevent the Titans entering Tyria. They where the Gods of the Charr a long time ago, back when the Flame Legion where still ruling the ranks of the Charr. They are also closely related to the Flameseeker Prophecies, just like the Mursaat where, but this one line always is makes me wonder: “But a threat still remains. The Titans the lich loosed upon the world are causing more trouble than even I could have forseen. The world is not yet safe, and you still have work to do.”

The Titans still were a threat 250 years ago and I don’t think a lot of things have changed since those days. But we haven’t seen the Titans in Guild Wars 2, right? Well, if I look at Gorseval I really think that he could verry well be related to the Titans, one way or another. Het is formed from the angered spirits withing the Spirit Woods, whereas the Titans are made by twisting tormented souls. Coincedence or not?

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Of course, Gorseval appeared áfter the Windstorm, just like Slothasor and the Vale Guardian did. There is not that much information we can find about Slothasor. He is just a Sloth, one that maybe was enhanced by the power of the Windstorm, but he does what sloths do, sleeping (and using poison so no one can just run pass him…. Silly Sloth) and maybe waking up a few times so ehh…. But what really has me wondering is that cave around him. It looks so much alike the cave in Dry Top, the one where Omadd’s machine is. Those holes in the wall they’re similar and it even has the same leyline energy running through it, hmmm, the same? The leyline energy in the Ley Line Hub is blue, with some hints of green, but in Slothasor’s Den the energy is yellow with hints of purple. And in the Ley Line Coinfluence in Tangled Depths we can also see leylines, blue, with hints of yellow and purple. Why is that? Is the Maguuma Bloodstone interferring with the ley-line energy? Is that the reason why the gamma level is so much off? We know, from the Bloodstone Fen mission in Guild Wars Prophecies, that the Maguuma Bloodstone is yellow with purple, just like Slothasor’s Den, and this makes sense because they are so close by. But what’s going on here? Just look at Scarlet, those power cores are blue, red and green. The Vale Guardian, blue, red, green with himself being white. Infinite Coil, black, white, red, purple, green, blue, but no yellow, similar to the Elder Dragons. Could it be that the base color of, let’s say magic, is blue but switches gamma level when it works differently? Would make for a pretty painting for sure.

So what about the Winstorm? It woke up Gorseval, Slothasor and it imbued the pylons at the Vale Guardian site with energy when it passed by. It also woke up the ghosts we see everywhere in the raid, the rivier of Souls wich resembles the one in the Domain of Anguish (so a connection with the Titans again) and those Mysterious voices who clearly are afraid and confused. Since the Windstorm came from the south, roughly around the time when we deafeated Mordremoth, it makes sense it was Mordremoth’s energy that caused it, and that energy was so strong that it caused all of these creatures and ghosts to suddenly appear. It makes sense, we know that magic is native to Tyria, flowing like waves, being strong at one point wich causes the Elder Dragons to awaken, and they consume the magic, using it till it’s on a low level, so low that they need to go back to sleep again. What is different this time is that we actually defeated two Elder Dragons, we killed them. When we killed Zhaitan his energy was most likely released as well, unnoticed by people and ourselves, but fueling the other Elder Dragons, including Mordremoth. Mordremoth had more time to accumulate energy (and as far as we know was in a better spot to tap energy from the ley-lines) and also got Zhaitan’s energy, so when all of his magic was released the effects became even stronger. This actually makes me fear what will happen when we defeat the other Elder Dragons, there would be so much magic in Tyria that maybe the whole world would be un-balanced. The way Mordremoth’s energy affected the Bloodstone and Soul Batteries around there (and yes, my guess is that those lost souls came from there) it would make sense that the next Elder Dragon would cause even more effect on places in Tyria, releasing dangers we cannot even imagine.

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There is one ghost, that Lost Soul, that has taken my interest as well. During the raids he stands there but when we get close, he suddenly vanishes. Is he that mysterious voice we hear? Or is he something special? For some reason I wouldn’t be surprised if that soul actually was Saul D’Alessio in the past. There is nothing that supports that feeling of course, but it would be an amazing story line if the founder of the White Mantle for one reason would start helping us now.

Some things lying around in the raids are these crates with Bloodstone Shards and this dagger that seems to be made of bloodstone around the Burn Pit. First of all it’s not strange to see parts of the Bloodstone here. When the God’s split up the Bloodstone it most likely didn’t fall into perfect pieces, just look at the ascended material Bloodstone Dust. The bloodstone dagger we see was presumably used to kill the bandits prisoners, around the Burn Pit. We see bodies of the killed prisoners in many places during the raids, just on the ground, tossed from a cliff, or burned in this burn pit. If they used that dagger around the Burn Pit it is actually a bit weird, why didn’t they do it on the bloodstone? Where they could use their souls for their evil scams? In those barrels we find bloodstone shards as well, but it seems to be like they are charged with magic. So what if we were wrong? What if they didn’t use the bloodstone to charge the batteries, but it merely was a symbol of it? Having the bloodstone material was enough to collect it, to keep it? There are of course these rumours about strange murders in Divinity’s Reach. People being killed in a barbaric way. Is that where those bloodstone daggers are used as well? A weapon that absorbs the soul of it’s victims, collecting it in small bloodstone shards? When we fight Matthias Gabrel we also see this bloodstone shard in the Temple of Salvation, pulsating, imbued with engergy. Is that where some of his powers come from? Is he using the power of the bloodstone? The power of Souls? I can’t see a direct link to the Titans, except that they are made of souls as well, but is the fact that souls are involved the reason why Matthias makes me think of them?

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Another thing that has got met wondering is about the Vale Guardian, specifically that symbol on the floor where we fight him. I have seen that one before, to be specific in Tarir and in the Guilded Hallow Guild hall. This would mean that the race that created the Vale Guardian mechanism is the same as the ones that created Tarir. Another thing I noticed is the lack of birds we see in the Lost Precipice guild hall. These birds are no where to be found in either Tarir or the raid, but we can find them in other places, Divinity’s Reach, Ebonhawke, Rata Sum back in Guild Wars, Ascalonian Catacombs. It’s safe to say that those places were constructed or influenced by a different race and I think that they are related to the Mursaat, not just because the Mursaat influenced the Krytan culture through the White Mantle (and keep in mind that Divinity’s Reach was constructed after the events in Guild Wars, so White Mantle influence is more than likely there based on what we have found about them) but because of how they have been described in the past. When the Flameseeker Prophecies almost was done Glint said this: “Over the bones of the bird of prey, the fire is put out and the diabolic gathering is closed off once again. The Flameseeker Prophecies are now complete. The Door of Komalie is closed, and the Titans are once again safely locked away behind it.” And the druid Dark Oak, during the Blood and Smoke mission, refered to them as this: “A host of gleaming angels…. no not angels but birds… carrion birds… bright and terrible as the sun”. So I would guess that the Lost Precipice was created by the Mursaat and the Guilded Hollow by the Forgotten (Tarir is the Forgotten city, as stated by ArenaNet).

But who is responsible for the constructions in the raid area then? It’s a bit confusing, because the structures we see resemble human architecture a lot, especially the area’s around the wall wich would point towards the White Mantle, but still we have this mechanism none of the White Mantle knows how to restore that apears to be Forgotten design (or at least a symbol that was of great importance for them). And Salvation Temple looks not like it’s surroundings, in fact there are not that many places anywhere ingame that look like it, it definetly doesn’t look like Tarir. One tiny hint might be those statues we see there, they resemble the statue of Balthasar in Guild Wars a bit, how he’s holding it’s greatsword in front of him.

There is one structure that has the same feeling to it as this temple but I’ve never been close enough to that one to know for sure, and that’s the Wizard’s Tower. This is going to be overspeculation for sure, so be warned :).

I, of course, looked at the Gravestones. This time it made me realize something. The earliest date of death we find here was 1315 AE, thirteen years ago. This means that all of this has been going on for at least thirteen years already, probably even longer. This, next to people being captured, made me realize something. Where in game can we find people gone missing for years already? I remember this conversation between a grandmother with her granddaughter.

When I was young, we didn’t have elementals running around the city, doing everyone’s chores for them. Folks did their work with their own two hands.

You don’t like it here?

I didn’t say that. That castle sure is pretty nice. I’d like to go there someday. Some of the other villages go to live there. I keep hoping for an invitation, myself.

Do you ever get to see the villagers who moved there?

No, but that’s not surprising. A place as elegant as that… I’m sure they’re just wrapped up in their new lives. And it is very isolated up there. (sigh) I’ll admit, I’m jealous.

Grandma is so funny. All of the elementals here really creep her out.

Why doesn’t she like them?

I don’t know. She’s not actually afraid of them or anything. My mom says Grandma just has trouble handling change. She just came to live with us recently, after all. But she seems to like the castle.

Could it be? The Wizard’s Tower in Kessex Hills? One of the very first speculation topics in Guild Wars 2? Probably the most wellknown mysterie in the game? Of course this is overspeculation, but the more I think about it, the more it could be. From the above quotes it seems that when the grandmother was young things like this didn’t happen, it was just a normal town. Now, years later it’s different. She thinks the town is strange, but she does like the castle, and is actually jealous of the missing people that supposedly live there (but no one knows that for sure). Somehow something that has to do with the Wizard’s Tower has changed since she left. Something that has to do with (mind)magic, elementals and missing people.

Now everyone is probably thinking “Sure…”. I mean, it’s just a coincidence, right? Or is it?

One of the things I think is just to much of a coincidence is the way both the Wizard’s Tower and the Chapel in Forsaken Thicket look alike (at least here in GW2). The arches are different, but they have the same atmosphere. What if they were made by the same people, the same race? If they had the same purpose? Both of them acting as some sort of ancient Asura gate for instance, a way to fast travel?

Another thing to really take into consideration, and I’m taking you back to Guild Wars 1 now, is that the White Mantle did show interest in the Wizards Tower before. Back in the first part of GW, Prophecies, we had this quest “The villainy of Galrath”. Galrath was not a nice guy and strongly related to the White Mantle, he even dressed like one, and he went to the Wizard’s Tower to search for powerful arcane magic. Fortunately we managed to stop him. But in the events of Guild War’s Beyond, War in Kryta, we had this bounty where we had to stop Justiciar Marron, a White Mantle boss, a necromancer/ritualist, and we succeeded, we killed him. But we don’t know if he has succeeded, if he managed to do what Galrath wanted. And what if he did? What if the White Mantle in the end took over the Wizard’s Tower and it’s actually in their hands?

I wouldn’t be surprised if they did you know. I can imagine this happening: the White Mantle were defeated but they never stopped being around. Somewhere over the last decades they decided now was the time to come back and they started working on their big scheme, retaking Kryta from Queen Jenna. They infiltrated everywhere, every more or less important job was something they tried to put their agents in. And they had the Wizard’s Tower as a backup. From there they started to take people away, kidnap them, and start working on their masterpiece, bringing their gods back.

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Extra info 1: Near Matthias Gabrel we can see this Asura Gate and, if you go there on an Asura character, you will find out it is connected to the one in Fort Vandal. This is another hint towards the Sinister Triad being involved as well, Inquest and Nightmare Court. If we see Charrs in raid wing III, we could add the Flame Legion to this as well.

Extra info 2: For some reason I really think that the surroundings of the Temple of Salvation is behaving differently than it should. It could be something about the temple itself or just the appearance of the windstorm, but something is off there. If you go to the Labor Camp you can see some stones, hanging there in mid-air. Those stones don’t move, they just hang there, as if they are trapped in time. Is time behaving differently in there?

Extra info 3: According to his wife the Scholar, who wrote all those pages, was sacrificed on the altar. What altar? I haven’t seen an altar yet in the raids but with everything we know so far it would make sense he was sacrificed on an altar at the bloodstone. Curious because I can’t remember seeing an altar there in Guild Wars Prophecies.

Extra info 4: How are the Seers related to all of this? We know they were an important race in the past, enemies of the Mursaat who they were in war with, but we don’t know much about them. According to Randall Greytstone in Arah they created the Bloodstone to contain magic that was not corrupted by the Elder Dragons during their last rise. Ree Soesbee once said that there is lot’s of Seer stuff still visible in both Guild Wars 1 and 2, but no-one recognizes it as the Seer Legacy. What sort of things we are seeing is related to the Seers? The Temple of Salvation? The Wizard’s Tower? Or maybe the Vale Guardian device or it’s symbol?

Extra info 5: When the Gods split up the bloodstone they did it because the human king Doric wanted the magic to be sealed away, so there wouldn’t be any bloodshed anymore. The agreed with him, sealing the stone with Doric’s blood (that’s what the name bloodstone came from). When they left in the Exodus, they entrusted Doric’s bloodline with the duty of protecting the bloodstones. Queen Jenna actually is from Doric’s bloodline, so this would make it her duty to protect it.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Fearan

2 thoughts on “Lore behind the raid: Forsaken Thicket, Salvation Pass

  1. Yes, as with your Spirit Vale lore feature, this was excellent!
    I need to get back in gw2 at some point to catch up and see all this lore in both wings for myself. Shame it’s locked behind a raid to experience but then again probably on “farm” at some point too.

  2. Excellent write-up!

    As someone who hasn’t traversed yet through the second Raid wing, I’d like to thank you for putting this together.

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