Jul 242011

Back when I first visited the Eye of the North I was tasked with locating allies for the upcoming battle against the destroyers. In order to gain the Ebon Vanguard’s help, I first have to locate their missing unit. So after helping the norn and gaining their trust, I headed east to the Charr Homelands.

Due to the circumstances leading me here, It was easy to gain the help of two Ascalonian elementalists to explore Grothmar Wardowns with me. According to them, this is what Ascalon looked like before the Searing. I’ve already been through here once briefly to investigate the missing Ebon Vanguards. Now I’ll be fully exploring this area along with my friends Elwin and Elena.

To the right of us, cute little white rabbits were hopping around the area close to Longeye’s Ledge. I’ve heard that Ascalon used to have brown rabbits roaming around it.

It’s easy to get lost in the Grothmar Wardowns’ natural beauty, so it’s all the more shocking when it transitions to the site of a smoldering battlefield. On my first pass through this area, I stopped here to investigate what happened. The lack of bodies suggested that the charr took captives, so I headed to their settlement on the far east side of this area. The end result was not what I expected, so I’ll continue on more about this when I reach the settlement again.

Spending so much time in the frozen norn lands has given me an even greater appreciation of the Charr Homelands. The temperature is just right and the landscape itself is full of life.

It’s also full of charr but I don’t mind them too much. Fighting them just seems like a temporary distraction from all the moments I spend admiring my surroundings. These feline-like monsters were responsible for the Searing that took place eight years ago. Some Ascalonians I’ve met, like the Ebon Vanguard, still seek revenge. Others like my friends Elwin and Elena have become distanced from their homeland and no longer hold a deep hatred for the charr. Maybe one day we can work out some sort of agreement with them, like the tengu in Cantha.

After fighting our way through pretty typical enemies, we came across this “siege devourer”; a giant version of the normally weak bugs found in Ascalon. The charr have fitted these with explosives and a platform attached to a saddle, which they have chained to the creature. I wonder if the charr came up with this themselves, or took a note from the Luxons of the Jade Sea and their own siege turtles.

A type of insect similar to the mantids of Cantha was found living near these red trees. They have the unusual ability to spring back to life, making combat very confusing. I’ll think to myself: “where did that bug come from? I thought I just killed it!”

Moving on, we spotted this enchanting tree canopy. Under it, the mantids and charr pace back and forth, guarding their territory from humans.

On the path leading to the charr camp, you can see a large, spiky mountain range on the other side of the water. The spiky scales remind me of the sand drakes in the Crystal Desert, but I don’t expect this mountain to move and cause an earthquake.

Arriving at the charr camp, the clean air of Grothmar Wardowns is pushed aside, and smoke fills the air. This is where I continued my investigation from earlier about the missing Ebon Vanguards. I didn’t find them but in the prisons, a charr named Pyre Fireceshot from an opposing war band agreed to help us in exchange for his freedom. Pyre is against the shaman caste that runs the charr community, and his ideas have brought about the imprisonment and planned execution of his war band.

Needless to say, earlier when I rescued Pyre, our party member Gwen was not happy. Even helpful charr are still enemies of hers, and must be killed. I’m not stupid enough to put my party at risk. There is something important going on here and I believe that aiding Pyre will only lead to good things. In helping the charr outcast free his war band, we gain more allies to oppose the other charr that are holding the humans captive. As a bonus, we can disrupt the power of shamans that worshiped the titans as gods.

Bringing an end to my exploration of the Grothmar Wardowns, I took my sweet time backtracking the area and taking in the sights.

I realize that time is of the essence for the lost Ebon Vanguards, but after a long day everyone needs to eat something. So I setup a small picnic on a grassy hill by a large waterfall. Elena and I changed to more comfortable clothes, and even our usually sour friend Gwen danced with excitement about being one step closer to rescuing her friends.

Prized Spoils: 3 golden items, elite paragon tome
Outposts: Longeye’s Ledge
Exits: Dalada Uplands, Sacnoth Valley, Ooze Pit
Friends: Elwin L., Elena D.