Jul 282013

The Plains of Ashford were built over the ruins of Old Ascalon. Charr that live and work here still battle human ghosts from the past. The Flame Legion, human separatists, grawl, harpies, skelk, and ogres are also a constant threat.

Entering the plains from the Black Citadel, I arrived at the Village of Smokestead. Here I met my charr friend and tour guide, Grekel Feraldrum. I’ve spent a lot of time researching the area (especially it’s past), but it’s always useful to get another opinion from a local. At the village, I visited the Three Legions Court to find it’s patrons in a bar brawl. Apparently this sort of thing happens all the time.

plains of ashford-smokestead

Heading north past the Greysteel Armory (where even more weapons are forged), I fired some canons at the Tela Range. Here, charr get to practice and hone their skills. The cannons are kept oiled with the use of skale oil sacks.

Nearby the range, several skritt have made a home in ruins. They’re not very intelligent creatures on their own or in a small community, but that doesn’t stop them from stealing anything that catches their eye; like cannon balls.

plains of ashford-tela range

At the Devourer’s Mouth, devourers are bred to assist charr on the battlefield. Drottot Lashtail oversees the operation and has even designed lures to drive the female lashtail devourers away while they gather their eggs. Something interesting I noticed about the their nests, is that they are made over the remains of a whiptail devourer’s corpse. Unfortunately, Drottot refused to answer any questions I had about this odd breeding feature of the devourers.

plains of ashford-devourers mouth

Ruins of Ascalon’s Great Wall tower over Lake Feritas. Traps are placed in it’s shallow waters to capture fish. Sometimes the drakes that also inhabit the lake are a annoyance, but it’s the Flame Legion that regularly attack that are the real problem. They pollute the lake and fill it with tar elementals that prevent fishermen from cleaning up.

I also spoke with Strum Bassclash, the legionnaire in charge of the warband stationed to protect the lake. He thanked me for helping keep it clean and also driving away the Flame Legion. As a reward for this, he offered to give me an interesting item: gargoyle fossils. Hearing about the fossils made me think back on a previous conversation I had with Shred Gnarltail in the Black Citadel, about his research on gargoyles.

plains of ashford-lake feritas

I decided to help the fishermen and kill the Flame Legion in their nearby cave known as Facula Castrum. Inside I found an old charcoal map used by the legion with notes suggesting troop movements. From the quality of the map, it was difficult to tell whether the plans were recent.

plains of ashford-facula castrum

Passing through the cave, we entered Martyr’s Woods. The human Captain Calhaan was stationed here to defend the Great Wall against charr. His ghost still haunts the woods and he’s forever reliving the moment charr overtook the wall.

At first when I heard about the Foefire, I thought that it only reanimated those who were alive at the time of the ritual. But it seems the spell effects those who perished as well. Otherwise I don’t understand why Calhaan would be reliving a moment from 1075AE, when the Foefire occurred in 1090 AE.

plains of ashford-martyrs woods

Southeast of the woods, I gazed upon the ruins of Old Duke’s Estate. They once belonged to Duke Barradin, a man whose brother was king before Adelbern took power. His daughter Althea was engaged to Prince Rurik before the Searing. During the catastrophe she was captured by the charr, and burned alive at their altar at the Flame Temple Corridor. The duke himself survived the Searing, and was stationed at the Piken Square outpost.

plains of ashford-old dukes estate1

Inside the estate, Grekel told me of his debut as an adventurer and his heroics. Ghosts had made an aggressive push to the Smokestead Village. So along with Rytlock and others, they marched into the Old Duke’s Estate to stop the duke from commanding the other ghosts. He was proud of saving Smokestead, and showed me a picture of the battle.

Today, the duke’s ghost remains silent. However the ghosts of Armsman Pitney, Farrah Cappo, Horace, and Ivor Trueshot still roam the estate’s halls.

plains of ashford-old dukes estate2

Further south past the Ash Legion Sharptail Encampment, there is a strange old ghost camp. Inside are a graveyard and four obelisks that generate lightning. The charr call this area the Decimus Stones, which refers to the obelisks. Looking back on my heroic ancestor’s notes, these obelisks were used by mages in the Flaming Scepter guild.

plains of ashford-decimus stones

At the Exterminatus HQ, Jenk Cutspector and an asura, Kryxx Fizzleban have developed an exciting device to stop the ghosts of Ascalon. Their iron containment device traps ghosts, and prevents them from returning at the dawn of each day. Given the high profile of this object, Flame Legion often attacked the headquarters and released the ghosts.

plains of ashford-exterminatus hq

Across the Exterminatus HQ is a monument devoted to the charr hero, Pyre Fireceshot. He’s credited with starting the revolution against the Flame Legion. My heroic ancestor, D. W. Kirin had the opportunity to adventure with him and assist in their rebellion. Pyre’s dream of freeing charr from the Flame Legion tyranny were finally realized when his grandcub Kalla Scorchrazor led the other warbands to defeat them.

plains of ashford-pyre fierceshot statue

To the south of the statue, Flame Legion meet in Igni Castrum. Here, they build large walking Flame Effigies that are commanded to destroy Pyre’s monument.

plains of ashford-igni castrum

Looking through objects on the center island of Lake Adorea led me to disturb Grazden the Protector. In the past, he guided young monks in Green Hills County, the same area Duke Barradin’s Estate was built on. Now he attacks anyone who he comes across.

plains of ashford-lake adorea1

North of the lake, charr train their combat and crafting skills at the Ashford Forum. There are specific crafting stations inside the forum, and a pit nearby with ferocious creatures to train with.

plains of ashford-ashford forum

Fighting my way past the ghosts of Devast District, I entered the Abbey Ruins to search for relics of the past. There was nothing noteworthy here, except for a sword on a platform and the ghost of a cat that keeps chasing a frog. I don’t know why the foefire affected this cat. It’s not exactly going to rise up and save Ascalon.

plains of ashford-abbey ruins

Sticking to a southeast direction, we entered the Windrock Maze caves. It’s not difficult to find your way around this maze, but there are air elementals at every turn.

plains of ashford-windrock maze

Camp Keiran in the Loreclaw Expanse is home to human separatists. They’ve named the camp after the famous hero and co-founder of Ebonhawk, Keiran Thackeray. Even though both the human and charr kingdoms have signed a peace treaty, a small group of rebels known as the separatists refuse to follow it. This is their base of operations in the Plains of Ashford, where they launch attacks at the nearby shipyard.

During my first encounters with the separatists, I tried talking and reasoning with them to hear their side of the story and hopefully explain why the charr are our allies, and not accountable for their ancestor’s actions. But none of them have so much as paused to talk with me. To them it doesn’t matter who you are; if you honor the treaty they’ll attack you on sight.

plains of ashford-loreclaw expanse

At the Irondock Shipyard, a new underwater vessel is being tested. This “submarine”, the Iron Barracuda was built to help fight the dragons. Everyone here is excited about its potential. I overheard a conversation between two soldiers. They surmised that the submarine would give them the firepower to conquer quaggans. I hope they’re kidding, quaggans are peaceful and adorable. For now, the Iron Barracuda is used for firing missiles at Camp Keiran.

Aside from the charr I spoke with, there is one asura here. Torkk is studying iron legion technology on behalf of the College of Dynamics. I’m sure the asura would love to have a submarine for their underwater research.

plains of ashford-ascalon basin1

Ogres fleeing from the Dragonbrand in Blazeridge Steppes have come to Cadem Forest. Their incursion into charr territory and reluctance to negotiate has caused conflict. Perhaps it’s because the charr fought so hard to take back their lands from the humans that they are unwilling to share it with ogres now. I’ve heard that ogres are intelligent and can be friendly, so it’s a shame that the two races can’t work this out.

plains of ashford-stonecrag kraal

Arriving at Lamia Mire, I felt like I just stepped into a completely different area. It’s not pleasant to trudge around in a mire, but it’s a wonderful sight. Something interesting I noticed here, is that several trees have deep marks cut into them. Each mark is slightly different, and looks to be carved deliberately.

plains of ashford-lamia mire

Heading back to the center of Ashford, we visited the Deadgod’s Lair. Grekel and I disagreed over whether Balthazar was truly dead or not, but we did agree that his name was Balthazar and not Badazar. The grawl of Ashford have flocked to this old statue of the god of war, and worship “Badazar”. From accounts by other adventurers and priory members, the grawl will worship just about anything. It’s no surprise that they revere this statue, and still can’t manage to get the god’s name right.

plains of ashford-deadgods lair

Another remnant of the past, this crystal shard from the Searing still stands. Conjured from a large flame cauldron, these shards rained down upon the quiet, green fields of Ascalon during the Searing. Centuries later, the landscape still doesn’t compare to it’s former beauty.

plains of ashford-agnos gorge

The Priory have setup a base called Ghostsummit, located between the crystal and the Ascalon Catacombs. As one can imagine, the proximity to the ruins of Ascalon City gives the Priory much to work with and dig around for.

plains of ashford-ghostsummit

Shivers of excitement ran down my spine as I descended the steps leading to the Ascalon Catacombs. I’m so eager to venture in there and see the ghost of King Adelbern! Hopefully after my exploration of Ashford is complete, I can enter the catacombs with a full adventuring party.

plains of ashford-entry ascalon catacombs

At the Viewing Hill, there is a plaque marking the spot where Frye Fireburn and his warband witnessed the Foefire. He discovered that King Adelbern had laid this trap for the charr, so he warned his superiors of it. His superiors didn’t seem to believe him or didn’t care, and they punished Frye and his warband by binding them to pillars. He was forced to watch as the Foefire engulfed the humans and his fellow charr. Frye and his warband survived, and reported the atrocities they saw to the remaining Flame Legion.

plains of ashford-the viewing hill

Following a demolition team, we reached the monument and final resting place of Warmaster Tydus. Like the other powerful ghosts in the area, Tydus causes a lot of problems for the charr. That’s why Aymber Blastrock and her warband came to demolish his statue.

plains of ashford-humans lament

The Ascalon City Ruins at the Great Wall are heavily populated with ghosts.

plains of ashford-ascalon city ruins

At the ruins, we faced Siegemaster Lormar. He was in charge of trebbing charr during the mission to save Fort Ranik.

I don’t enjoy killing all these heroes of the past, but they’re only mindless killing machines thanks to King Adelbern.

plains of ashford-siegemaster lormar

On a ledge of the ruins, I peered down at the Foefire’s Heart; the very spot where the spell was unleashed. It was chilling to imagine what it was like on that day, seeing all those people die at once to “save” Ascalon.

plains of ashford-foefire heart