Kirac's my name, tracker and officer in Oriath's new Citizen Vanguard. We're the front line, ensuring the likes of Kitava and Innocence never blindside us again. The Templar kept the true nature of the world hidden from the populace, but now the rhoa's out of the sack, and we'll keep both eyes open. Or the one eye open, in my case.
I'll come right out with it, Godslayer. I have a problem, and you may be the only one that can help.
My younger brother, Baran, fell in with a radical by the name of Zana Caeserius some time ago. She's a bit of a famous one in certain parts. Many who have worked with her have ended up two pews short of a congregation, ranting and raving on street corners or accosting random citizens... you can see the cause for my concern. I've reason to believe she was working out of an old Templar Laboratory off the Square. Head there with me now.
Baran sent me letters. He wrote that he was embarking on an expedition with Caeserius and several skilled exiles. Kitava's temper tantrum kept me from Oriath, but my brother should have long since returned by now. I know that searching for one man's brother is an inconsequential task for a Godslayer, but I have a bad feeling about this.
My brother spoke of a device like that in his letters. He said they used it to open passage to distant lands, whatever that means... However it works, it's clearly dangerous if it can explode in such a manner. We must do our work somewhere away from civilians. I'm going to requisition a team of tinkerers and engineers. Using the notes in this laboratory, we can construct a similar device. Your hideout will do nicely as a base of operations. Yes, I know where it is. I came up the ranks as a tracker, mind you.
Rumour has it this was built by order of a previous High Templar, the name of Venarius. If the impossible components we need are anywhere in our mortal realm, they would be in the Vault of Venarius in the Reliquary.
We're going to need to find the key to that Vault. Dominus was the next High Templar, and thus the one who declared his predecessor's pursuits heretical and had them sealed as blasphemous. A load of manure to secure the secrets for himself, no doubt. A man like him would have kept the key close. My gut tells me it's likely in his old office in the Templar Courts. Let's head there.
Hurts my eye just to look at. Those are definitely what we're looking for. Angles that don't make sense, shapes that shouldn't exist, and corners to trap the sight. Let's install these in the device and see what happens. Meet me in your hideout, exile.
The device seems stable now, though I've no inkling where its portals may lead. My instinct as a tracker usually gives me some sense of direction, but I just feel light-headed when I think about it... Baran's last letter included a small crudely hewn stone map so that I might follow him if anything happened. The carvings didn't make sense at the time, but now I understand.
Put this map in the machine. Somehow, I'm certain it's our destination.
Caeserius is a skilled cartographer, but she hasn't got martial understanding of the terrain. If I was looking to build a fortress, I know where I'd place it. I've marked it on your Atlas. She might be able to get you there.
If Caeserius is still alive, I'll track her down, and I'll deliver her in chains for judgement. It's not for me to decide whether skulking around Oriath with mystical technologies that explode is a crime worthy of prison. The new citizen Magistrates will handle that.
I intended to bring Caeserius to the Magistrates, but it sounds like Baran is in real trouble. It runs at odds with my position in the Citizen Vanguard, but I think I've earned some discretion. We should work with her until we rescue my brother.
Caeserius has a good head on her shoulders. I'm starting to think her reputation as a radical is unearned. By all accounts, regarding this 'Elder' creature she and her exiles defeated, she may have done Wraeclast a service, and nobody's the wiser. Of course, that opinion hinges on whether they're telling the truth, and whether my brother can be saved.
In my heart, I do blame her for what happened to Baran. If he was simply dead, that would be one thing, but he's out there suffering eternal madness because of her. I can't deny that bitterness. However, duty calls. The people we've got are it. If we tried to explain all this to the citizen Magistrates, Caeserius would be locked up for her associations with criminals, and we'd all be thrown in an asylum for our wild tales. We must face this 'Sirus' together, all grievances aside.
I'll keep my own counsel on the topic of Zana, thank you. Uh, Caeserius, rather. However, it seems someone reported to the Magistrates that she's innocent of all her supposed underhanded activities... funny that.
So that's it then. Baran can't be saved. Caeserius... did she understand the costs? Did she know the fate she was consigning my brother to? I've no small bitterness over how far she went to try to save her father, yet here we are, abandoning my brother to eternal madness. There's nothing to be done about it, but it still burns.
Even after all that's happened, I find myself unable to move on. Keep pursuing Baran, exile. Let's keep trying to save him. We won't fall into the same madness, either, because I'll stay out here in the real world. I'm the one with the desire, and you're the one with the strength. If we keep the two separate, the Atlas can't trap us.
Seems enough was enough. The Vanguard undertook the largest evacuation in history... hundreds of ships... and Oriath has been abandoned. After the domination of the Templar, then the crackdown under Innocence, then the slaughter at Kitava's hands, and finally the ruination by Sirus, it's clear our little island is no place for men to live. Even cursed, one could say, though we are not entirely blameless for those disasters.
No small irony that the Oriathan people now depend upon the Karui we once enslaved. I always said that if you kick a rhoa in the arse, one day, it'll kick you in the head, but I underestimated the honour of our new hosts. They're different after the death of their gods... and we are, too, after the departure of ours. I wasn't a believer, but I can feel it. We're on our own now.
We're going to have to work together to face what comes next...
Some say the Citizen Vanguard failed in its mission, but I say we succeeded, and wildly so. Oriath may have been ruined, but its people will live on, because you and I were out there in the wild unknown facing dangers that would have destroyed all of Wraeclast otherwise.
Life in the Karui Archipelago will be tough, but we've been through worse many times over. We'll be alright.
This might sound naive, but any entity we run into out there that doesn't immediately try to eat us or drive us insane is a win in my book. We need to learn all we can. Scrutinize every word the Envoy says. The fate of the world may one day hinge upon it.
You've driven away the Maven for the moment, but the Envoy is still around? That's not a good sign. I assumed it served her, but if that isn't true, then we may soon have a bigger problem on our hands...
Never trust floating women. I learned that the hard way in my second campaign, and the less said about that, the better. If the Maven is trying to communicate with you, learn what you can, but don't let your guard down even for a moment.
I've told you the job never ends, haven't I? We'll track down the Conquerors, we'll face Sirus, and then we'll figure out the mystery of this Maven entity as well. After that, we'll have a drink, and then we'll get right back to it when the next enemy of mankind appears. That's what I've signed up for, and that's what we'll do.
After all that, the Maven turns out to be a young eldritch entity? I've seen many terrible things in my time, but this... I should be relieved. Instead, I'm filled with apprehension. If that was a child, then what kind of powers do her elders possess? What happens when those cosmic fiends finally turn their countless eyes in our direction? We are on a very dark path, Exile.
You saw Baran? How is that possible, if you slew him? Unless -
It's the Maven. It has to be. She's been recreating other powerful creatures of the Atlas for her own amusement. Of course she would do the same to my brother, given his notable strength. None of the creatures out there can challenge him, either, which means the Maven is resurrecting him to watch his fights with you, and the Atlas is already the perfect battleground for such a show.
Keep her entertained, Exile. It will give us more time to learn about her. If we can play this right, then perhaps Baran can be saved after all.
I was right. The Maven is capable of resurrecting Baran, and has been doing so to suit her whims. If she is the reason he cannot find peace, then we must either slay her, or convince her to let him go. In either case, we have a very long campaign ahead of us. Stay the course, Exile.
You've taught the Maven a lesson, but she has not been defeated, if we can ever truly defeat an entity like her. I'm not even certain we can communicate with her on a meaningful level, but I have to maintain hope. Keep playing her games, Exile. Maybe one day she will recognise you as a peer, and then perhaps we can ask her to give Baran back to us.
Caeserius tells me that Sirus is on the verge of completing a map device. We should have counted on this happening once we prevented the Conquerors from interfering with each other.
The device's growing energy has given away the location of a secret citadel hidden within a tremendous storm. Caeserius can get us inside, and, from tracking your encounters with Sirus, I happen to know he isn't currently there. If we can get to his map device and destroy it before he can use it, we might just finish this before it begins.
The world is at stake once again. Danger be damned! We're both going with you. If this is the last time we speak, it has been an honour.
Sirus lives? I would imagine Caeserius is overjoyed, unless he's as mad as the rest of the Conquerors. I'll keep track of your encounters with him. Maybe we'll be able to figure out where he's been hiding.
If my brother spent his last words warning us against Sirus, then he must truly pose a tremendous threat. I hadn't even considered what his storms could do to mankind if they were ravaging Wraeclast instead of the Atlas...
There's something happening to the Atlas, Exile. When you socketed the fourth Watchstone in a Citadel, something responded. A storm on the horizon... a creek becomes a river... I'm not a man of metaphor, but I don't know how else to describe the crackling feeling of power on the wind. If the Atlas is a sleeping giant, our unknown force out there is slowly waking it.
While you've been tracking the Conquerors, I've continually noticed swaths of devastation left by a force unknown. The land reshapes and awakens with riotous power afterwards, so I thought it might simply be a property of the Atlas, but now I see there's a pattern: a storm. There's a storm somewhere out there, massive beyond anything we've ever seen, and roaring with enough force to disintegrate anything in its path. That storm... I'd bet my eye we'll find our enigmatic Awakener right at the center.
Was he an evil man? I think on it when I'm trying to sleep at night, because it seems the wound he gave me will never fully heal. It itches like rabid mudflies, damn latent disintegration eating away at me about the same speed as the skin naturally grows back...
Oh, but Sirus. I can't imagine being abandoned in darkness for a subjective eternity. I also can't imagine becoming so hollow that I would attack people I loved. I suppose, in the end, it doesn't matter. We did what we had to do... and we will again, when the time comes.
He's loyal, but unsuitable for duty, for obvious reasons. Sometimes wish I had a hat with a light on it myself. I tend to stumble in the night on the way to the latrine. But perhaps it's best I not risk my one good eye with an open flame.
Navali is dead, as I understand it. Or somewhere between life and death. I asked her if Hinekora could save Baran by doing the same for him, and Navali... she spoke with anger for the first and only time I've ever heard. One word: fool!
It never occurred to me that her endless living death might be... painful.
That one's a bottled up flask of rage, if I've ever seen it. I've known some good men who've suffered the same. When certain things happen to a soldier on the campaign trail, he returns home changed. Civilians will never understand. Let her work through her pain and revenge before we ask her to help us with the Conquerors.
Never trusted a Blackguard in my life. Reformed or not. Never have, never will. That bastard Gravicius and his psychotic disciple Cameria... but I suppose I shouldn't blame Helena for that. Just rankles me that he's still got my eye.
Being a tracker myself, I'm no stranger to the hunt, but him - he embodies the hunt, and nothing else. I tried to ask for his aid in chasing down the Conquerors, but it was impossible to get a straight answer out of him. I was given the distinct impression that he encounters them regularly while cavorting out in the wilds. He thinks... very highly of each of them... even Sirus. I can't imagine what the two of them would even say to each other.
She's beautiful - I'm one-eyed, not blind - but she's far too intense. I worked with her once before, tangentially, when on the campaign for the Templars. Not that she'd remember. Too wrapped up in her God and her work. We soldiers did the dying, and she gave the credit to the divine. Wish I could get her damn songs out of my head.
The trail has gone cold, exile. The Conquerors seek the Watchstones, but we've defended certain territories too well. Try placing a few Watchstones in regions we've investigated less thoroughly to draw them out. Use their agenda against them.
In order to draw out our quarry, we need to tempt them with bait. The Conquerors seek the Watchstones, so let's give them the opportunity to get what they want. Place a few Watchstones in an open Citadel to draw their attention. When they leave hiding, we'll pick up their trails.