I don't mean to sound ungrateful but we've no time for talk. Tolman was out here with me and now... you found him? Where?
Oh my God... Tolman.
Wraeclast takes everything from us... My family, we always keep something from those we've lost. A silly tradition, yet we hold on to what we can, especially here. Please, if... I don't know why you would... but if you are in the Crematorium again, could you find Tolman's bracelet for me? It would mean a great deal.
No, you go on ahead. I'll meet you back at the encampment, later... we'll talk some more then. Just for now, I need to be alone.
Exile... you've helped me before. You can help me again, can't you? My hope waits for me to the east, tucked away in a shrine in the Quay.
The Ankh of Eternity. Veruso, Prima Imperialus, placed it there himself at the dawn of the Empire. If the legends are correct, the Ankh has powers over life and death... when paired with the correct Azmerian ritual.
I've learned the ritual. All I need is the Ankh of Eternity and I know I can bring Tolman back... properly this time.
Will you retrieve the artefact for us? I've tried but the creatures around the shrine... simply too dangerous.
Yes, yes, Tolman, I'm getting to that.
I've already prepared a site for the ritual, out in the Quay. Please, meet us there with the Ankh so that I may yet breathe life into my dearest love.
As I understand it, the Ankh of Eternity was somehow able to return the dead to the full bloom of life. There was nothing necromantic about it, rather it was a source of true resurrection.
How it came to exist, I honestly don't know. A couple of inscriptions I read treated the ankh as some sort of gift to Veruso from the Vaal. But surely the Vaal were long gone by Veruso's time... weren't they?
No matter. Despite the vagaries of the Ankh's origins, Veruso used the Ankh to return his young wife from the death bed to the wedding bed. The accounts are unanimous on that point.
As it was for Veruso's love, so shall it be for mine.
By all accounts, Tarcus Veruso was a ruthless despot, a man to rival even the likes of Dominus. Yet his heart of stone contained one precious seam, his love for his wife, Chiara.
So when the poor young woman died giving birth to Veruso's son, Caspiro, the grieving emperor threw aside his great convictions and placed his last hope in thaumaturgy, in the Ankh of Eternity.
Perhaps it was shame that drove Tarcus to lock the ankh away, to steal such hopes from his descendents. It was he who had asked his people to turn their backs on the ancient arts, so what right had he to enjoy that which he forbade? Love gave him that right.
How could I have been so stupid? Veruso didn't hide the ankh out of shame. He hid it out of fear, out of...oh my, what did the ankh really do to his wife? Everything I saw, that I read...lies to cover the truth of what Chiara had really become.
Alright, I'll destroy the ankh. We've come a long way since Veruso's day so I'm thinking I can manage where he so sorely failed. At least that's something I know I can do right.
I'll meet you back at the encampment soon. For now I need to...look, I'll just see you there. I promise.
On the fall of the Empire, the historians are deathly silent. After the Purity Rebellion, the Kingdom of Kaom blockaded Oriath, preventing any trade or correspondence with the mainland. It's said that Kaom planned to invade.
Only when the Karui retreated did Oriath get any news from Wraeclast, but by that time there wasn't really anyone left to tell the tale.
Chitus thought that the Gemling was the pinnacle of human progress. "These glorious gems have brought us within spitting distance of godhood", he once said.
The High Templar at the time, Voll of Thebrus, thought they were a perversion. He wanted the Empire made pure, "cleansed of the stain of thaumaturgy". You look at Sarn and tell me which one you think was right.
And while you're out there, look out for monkeys. No, not those bloody monkeys from Phrecia. These ones are painted on the walls. I think you'll find them enlightening.
I know, so strange that stone and metal should move and live as you and I.
Still, I read that Chitus' sculptors used to soften their materials with 'thaumetic sulphite', a by-product of gem refining. It's the only connection that I can fathom between the cataclysm and the living sculptures of Sarn.