Aug 302013

Wayfarer Foothills is divided into two regions: green lowlands and a snow covered hilly area to the north. During my heroic ancestor’s time, this was an unmarked area between the city of Rin to the east, and Borlis Pass to the north west. The pressure from Jormag has given the norn a reason to make the foothills as hospitable as possible. Forts, homesteads, shrines to the Spirits of the Wild, and breweries have all been built since the norn’s resettlement. The usual troubles have followed them, (such as the Sons of Svanir) but now they also face the dredge which inhabit deep caves throughout the foothills.

wayfarer foothills-entry

Much like Hoelbrak, norn have gathered outside the city around tables to drink, boast, and fight. A trading post, merchants, and a brewery keep the comforts of home nearby.

wayfarer foothills-snowlords gate

A few sober souls demonstrated their superior skills at sculpting. Three norn attempted to best each other at a carving of wolves from a tree trunk.

wayfarer foothills-wood carvings

Aesa Wolfkin, my norn guide from Hoelbrak, awaited my arrival by the corpse of Issomir. During the final stage of her test to win the Great Hunt, Eir invited Aesa to defeat the ice wurm Issomir. I congratulated her on the victory, and we headed south to begin our exploration of the Borealis Forest and it’s surrounding areas.

wayfarer foothills-issormir corpse

Perched above the forest on a hill, the Heart of Raven is watched over by Shaman Sigrytha and Freygirr. Sacred ravens nest here, and acolytes tend to their roosts by providing a mix of rotting meat, berries, and insects to nourish ravens. Aesa and I lent a hand and killed skelk that tried to feast on raven eggs. We also rose to the challenge and answered riddles to please Raven. As a reward, we were given Raven’s blessing which sharpened our minds and guided us to be more precise in battle.

wayfarer foothills-raven

Heading east, circling around the Borealis Forest, we met Shaman Freygunn who oversees the Heart of Bear. To honor Bear’s spirit, we were encouraged to best Bear’s Acolytes in battle, feed fish to bear cubs, and defend the shrine from Son of Svanir attacks. As a reward, we were given Bear’s blessing which empowered our ability to heal better.

wayfarer foothills-bear

Jotun inside Kresdor Kenning cave gathered around a shrine to Jormag. It looked remarkably well built for jotun. Later on I found a similar statue being worshiped by Sons of Svanir. I suspect they may have helped install it for the jotun. From my conversation with Thrulm in Hoelbrak, I doubted the jotun were responsible.

wayfarer foothills-kresdor kenning

Following a river under the Heart of Bear and the jotun camp, we discovered a cave known as Doldenvan Passage filled with dredge and their mechanical creations. One such strange creation spun overhead. It’s function, aside from being a fan, eluded us.

Over 250 years ago, the dredge race were enslaved by a dwarven group called the Stone Summit. Since their master’s demise, dredge have a strong sense of independence and won’t budge for anyone. This stubbornness has led to an unfortunate hostility between dredge and norn. It’s not as if the dredge are too primitive to reason with; they just refuse to cooperate.

To worsen an already bad situation, a norn named Lunt taunts the dredge to fight him. When they ignore his drunken shouts, he collects poisonous flowers which he uses to poison the dredge settlement. Thinking back to the fan-like construction earlier, it seems Lunt’s practice of poisoning the dredge happens often enough that they had to build a device to purify the cave.

wayfarer foothills-doldenvan passage

Inside a different cave to the south-east, grawl gather and try to commune with demonic forces. On our arrival, we caught them in a ritual that summoned a Winged Horror; a type of Fleshreaver demon.

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Outside the Grekvelnn Burrows, peaceful grawl “farm” grubs and aggressive grawl hunters keep trespassers away from their cave.

wayfarer foothills-peaceful grub farmer

Inside the Grekvelnn Burrows, a creative norn named Ulfred had a plan to turn the grawl friendly. He sculpted a norn male statue out of magical ice from the remains of ice elementals. These primitive creatures are said to worship anything, and Ulfred’s crazy plan actually worked. Grawl revered the new fearsome norn warrior and welcomed us into their cave. Can’t say I appreciate the strange brown paint (sweet baby Melandru I HOPE that’s paint) they’ve smeared across the cavern walls, but gaining more allies is always a good thing.

wayfarer foothills-grawl worshipers

Aesa proudly showed me around the Heart of Wolf shrine. To assist Shaman Vigmarr we saved wolves from Son of Svnair cages, destroyed their banners and tents, and bonded with sacred wolves. As a reward, we were given Wolf’s blessing which greatly enhanced our constitution.

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Above the Heart of Wolf, Aesa introduced me to a Spirit Wolf that oversees the shrine from a mountain top. Thoughts of the Spirits of the Wild don’t fill me with deep emotions, but the sight of this wolf brought me joy. Wolves have a beautiful and graceful appearance of their own, and this spirit is no different.

wayfarer foothills-wolf spirit

Dredge also inhabit a cave to the southwest named Molensk. It’s larger than Doldenvan Passage and displays more dredge technology as well. Grimarr Molesmasher stands outside the cave with his fellow norn warriors. He asks adventurers to pillage defense plans, destroy their turrets, and to kill any dredge.

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Inside Molensk we examined the extensive pipeline spanning across the cave system. I wasn’t about to debate the usefulness of dredge or their creativity with Aesa, but I had to admire their accomplishments.

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Wrapping up the green plains of the Borealis Forest, we headed to the Heart of Snow Leopard shrine. Shamans Sigarr and Velja watch over the scared snow leopards and their cubs. Due to the close proximity of Molensk, dredge pose a threat to these felines. To honor Snow Leopard, Sigarr challenged us to accept a magic that would transform us into a snow leopard. We had to hunt ferocious animals while transformed to please the spirit. Another, more enjoyable task was to play with the many cubs around the shrine. As a reward, we were given Snow Leopards blessing which gave us a surge of might to overcome our prey.

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The familiar treants of Tyria found in Wayfarer Foothills have the appearance of barren trees. These pinesouls are gentle giants and only become aggressive when monsters or people attack it.

wayfarer foothills-oakheart

Norn parents at Taigan Groves encouraged us to throw snow balls at their children. Most of the adults have left the homestead to hunt and gather to feed their children. Only the butcher Gareth, Carman Fawntracker, and a few other craftsmen stay at the homestead to keep watch. Unfortunately due to the harsh weather of Wayfarer Hills, some adults have perished. Children outnumber the remaining adults, which makes it difficult to keep up with them.

Staying for a short while to help around, we killed dolyaks for their meat so Gareth could smoke it. One of the children, Jafri wanted to impress his father Gareth, and asked us to hunt down a large ram. Dad wasn’t happy his son had asked strangers to hunt his prey (or that he’d even go hunting), but used the animal’s head as a trophy atop his homestead, to attract people to his smokehouse. After that, we watched the children perform a ritual to attract bear. Unfortunately it drew hordes of bears to the homestead that we had to kill in order to save everyone. Fed up with “helping” norn children, Aesa and I moved on.

wayfarer foothills-taigan groves

Skipping over Darkriven Bluffs to the east, which is filled with Sons of Svanir. Aesa brought me south to a hut surrounded by rabbits. Bjarni and Linnea worship the Hare Spirit. Along with their Bunny Acolytes, they have set aside food for injured rabbits, to nurse them back to full health. Linnea wasn’t at the post on our arrival, but looking around I found something interesting. Several colorful crystalline minerals mark the site of Gaerta’s Summit. I only know of one Gaerta, and she happens to be Knut Whitebear’s wife. She’s well known for exploring the Shiverpeaks.

wayfarer foothills-gaertas summit

Across a bridge we found Linnea chasing a jackalope, hoping it would take her to a yeti. She found a yeti’s fur earlier, and suspected it would attack the rabbits. Calling upon Hare’s Spirit to send a jackalope to guide her to yeti, the horned rabbit hopped to the “yeti”. It turned out to be a jotun, but she killed it for good measure.

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Continuing on north-east, we arrived at the ancient site of Haivoissen Kenning. Mountainous stones have been chiseled away to create circular slabs. On the slabs, small circles-within-circles are marked on the smooth outward facing sides. The jotun that reside here are just as stupid and clueless as the ones we encountered at Kresdor Kenning. Here, they care more about the potato crops than anything else.

wayfarer foothills-haivoissen kenning

Fighting our way past the dumb giants, I got a better look at the circular designs on the slabs. Ancient jotun history fascinates me. It’s too bad more of the current generation can’t pass on that knowledge.

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Adventurous norn are challenged to cross the Shamans Rookery. You must jump across natural stone pillars to best norn champions and reach the end. If you make it that far and still beat the last test, winners can claim a prize from a small chest. Missing any of the jumps will force you to fight skelk on the pitch black floor of the rookery before ascending an incline leading to the beginning of the challenge.

wayfarer foothills-shamans rookery

To sooth my aching body after the test of Shamans Rookery, I soaked in the Zelechor hot springs. While I was relaxing, Burrison the Blue shouted at us, asking us to fight him. Aggravated from his rude interruption, I kicked his butt and left with Aesa to continue exploring Wayfarer Foothills.

wayfarer foothills-zelechor hot springs

Twinspur Haven is the first stronghold we’ve encountered in the snowy wilderness. Caravans arrive to deliver goods, and several crafting stations are available for use.

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Just outside the Twinspur Haven walls, a human named Albin Chronicler is studying jotun runestones. Seeing me from a distanced, he waved me over and asked that I help him trade with the jotun for their runestones. Thinking it was a simple task I agreed to Albin’s request. Little did I know that these jotun have a strange bartering system. It took us a good ten minutes to figure it out and recover enough runestones. For our efforts, Albin offered to give me one of the ancient jotun runestones, which I gladly accepted.

wayfarer foothills-albin chronicler

In yet another dredge cave, I helped a norn named Foreman Agvior free his miners. Agvior reqired a dredge carrier into a drilling machine, and I protected him while he tunneled through the miner’s prison. After freeing his coworkers, Agvior discovered a large cache of ore, and he asked for our help in gathering it. Escaping with the miners and plenty of copper ore in hand, he returned to Edenvar’s Homestead. Here he traded with Blacksmith Aina to give her the ore needed to craft sturdier armor. To thank us for saving his miners, Agvior gave us a recipe for crafting copper maces and swords.

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Sons of Svanir despise Jora for refusing Jormag’s gift. They’ve set up a camp nearby one of her statues to prevent anyone from repairing it after they’ve defaced it. But that hasn’t stopped Erika and Almarr from Edenvar’s Homestead from coming here to defend the statue and honor Jora’s heroic deeds.

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Several homesteads are built along the frozen waters of the north. I spotted some norn men ice fishing, and an “army” of armed snowmen standing guard against grawl attacks at Vendrake’s Homestead.

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Further up the lake, we witnessed portals into the mists releasing ice elementals. According to the words of other adventurers, earlier Scholar Brogun had investigated grawl worshiping a dragon totem, and with it’s destruction the surrounding Sons of Svanir grew aggressive. One of their shaman’s began a ritual to channel his magic, summoning these portals.

wayfarer foothills-portals

Even with the portals destroyed, the Son of Svanir shaman stood above the Heart of Corruption and managed to summon a colossal ice elemental. Everyone gathered to focus our attacks and kill him before the ritual was complete. Because the shaman was severely outnumbered, his defeat was inevitable.

wayfarer foothills-heart of corruption

Fed up with the constant attacks by the Sons of Svanir, we charged into their homestead at the Frozen Maw. We didn’t leave until every dragon totem was smashed and the Sons of Svanir fell to my barrage of arrows.

wayfarer foothills-the frozen maw

I came across a second stronghold named Crossroads Haven. It’s name comes from the crossroads it’s built near: one road leading east into Diessa Plateau, and to the west leading into Snowden Drifts. Lionguards from Lion’s Arch have been stationed here. The norn of Hoelbrak and Knut Whitebear do not seem to care who patrols their lands. They have a good relationship with Lion’s Arch, so the Lionguards shouldn’t cause any trouble for the norn.

wayfarer foothills-crossroads haven

Overlooking the Svanir’s Dome, I watched as Lionguards Shaska Kaldmorn and Reztiff Sunderfoe led an effort to clear the area. Heroes all across Wayfarer Hills were asked to join them in an effort to stop the Son of Svanir assaults (or at least halt them).

wayfarer foothills-svanirs dome

I joined in the fight when a giant Svanir Marauder arrived to end what progress they made so far. This champion of Jormag rampaged around the center of the dome, knocking foolish adventures away when they got to close. It took us several minutes to kill the beast and aid anyone that had fallen during the fight.

wayfarer foothills-svanirs dome corrupted leader

Clearing out the remaining Sons of Svanir, the magic that kept the Dragonblest Hold shut dissipated. Looking inside we found a magnificent icy throne, surrounded by colorful ice that formed along the walls and ceiling.

wayfarer foothills-svanirs dome throne room

Seeking to warm up after defeating the corrupted Son of Svanir, we sought out another famous hot spring (although much deadlier); Warmspring Grotto. Giant spiders live inside the steamy cave and prevent inexperienced travelers from communing with its ancient spring. Deciding that this spot was more hospitable on the account that no loud drunk men were shouting at us, Aesa and I cleared a path and basked in the steamy waters of the hot spring.

wayfarer foothills-warmspring grotto