|Chapter 1 - Gloom Break|
As the player, you awaken in the Gloom to the sound of Omen's voice. With her guidance and a focusing shard, you are able to fight your way out of the Gloom and into Skylight. It is then revealed that you use to be one of Omen’s Seekers, working with her to uncover ancient secrets. However, a year ago you valiantly sacrificed your life defending Skylight from an Eldren attack led by a Precursor. As a result, you exist now as a mere echo of your former self. The Precursor snuffed out the light of Skylight’s Beacon, leaving it vulnerable to being consumed by the Gloom. But, your sacrifice provided Omen with enough time to fight back the hoard of enemies, relight the Beacon and prevent the Gloom from engulfing everything. Skylight now stands as the final refuge against the Gloom.
You come to understand that being an echo of your past self is not entirely unfavorable. It provides you with a unique ability to pull from the Gloom and shape it. Using memories, you are able to shift your form to take on the appearance and power of others who lost their lives to the Gloom, and are even capable of using others’ connections to items and locations to manifest them into reality. Legendary weapons are now simply a memory away from your grasp. History can now be replayed through the Gloom at your call. But the Gloom is a chaotic and unpredictable force. It will take the help of others and their connections to this world for you to control the chaos.
Currently, Omen and her Seekers are working to comprehend the nature of the Gloom, with the goal of finding a way to restore Evenor. Omen and Lord Halar guide you to make connections to Lost Zones allowing you to breach the Gloom and craft a Gloom Dagger from the focusing shard. While fortifying your link to Lost Zones, you discover Aurelian monks, who have long since succumb to the Gloom, had been conducting research on ways to manipulate the Gloom. Omen requests you use the Gloom to search through time and find out what the monks knew. She suspects their research may have triggered the Gloomfall. To find a link to the monks through the Gloom, she suggests you locate Kestrel, a smuggler who use to work with the Shrike Syndicate, an opposing faction.
You ask Tavern Keeper Wren, about leads on Kestrel's location. She directs you to Warden Hass, who guards the Great Lift in Lower Skylight. Hass discreetly informs you where Kestrel's hideout is located, as she is concerned that her association with the smuggler may be discovered by fellow Seeker and commander over Skylight, Wolf. He would be greatly displeased with Hass for working with someone associated with an opposing faction. You follow Hass's instructions and meet Kestrel in her hideout. However, you realize you have already met Kestrel; going by the name Wren, she is able to secretly coexist with the Seekers and provide her services to help re-establish Skylight. Although, before she is willing to assist you, she has you do some work for her.
After her work is done, she points you to Brother Magan, located in the Crossroads Foundry, stating he has ties to the Aurelian Monastery. Once met, Magan tells you he was part of the Silver Codex, an order within the Avar Imperium church. They were peaceful scribes, appointed to record the wonders of the Architects' creation, until "The First Scribe" came along and twisted their goals, seeking to exploit the power of the Arcs. Within Aurelian, the monks in the Codex Halls were loyal to the Arcs, while the monks deep in the Undercroft explored the forbidden secrets of the Precursors.
In the Aurelian Lost Zones, you discover the monks of the Silver Codex where attacked thirty years ago by Imperial Archons, soldiers of the Avar Church, and subsequently consumed by the Gloom. Omen is deeply shocked by this revelation, as it was previously believed the monastery fell to invasion forces from The Maze, as the two empires were at war prior to the Gloomfall. However, it appears the Avar Church unveiled the heresies within the Silver Codex and sent the Imperial Archons to cull the monastery.
While tracking down the Commander of these Imperial Archons to see if his actions caused the Gloomfall, you expose Magan to be an Archon soldier, not a monk as he claimed to be. He is remorseful for his past and states he cast down his weapons when he was ordered to massacre innocent monks within the Codex Halls. After confirming the Archon Commander did not instigate the Gloomfall, Magan provides you with a new lead: the mines. He discloses that the Silver Codex maintained a supply of godsblood, a valuable resource used commonly as fuel, within The Bloodworks mine and he is unsure why.
Omen suggests you speak with Seeker Avala to find a connection to The Bloodworks. Avala is able to forge a connection for you using silver ore found around the entrance of the mines. After entering the mines, Avala is able to use spectral harvesters she planted on you to capture traces of the Aurelian monks, allowing you to cut through the Gloom and locate leaders of the Silver Codex, The Argent Hand. Omen requests you challenge them and determine if there are any indicators suggesting their involvement in Aurelian's collapse.
It is discovered through your fight with The Argent hand, that The First Scribe triggered the Gloomfall using a device called a "Conflux Arc". She refused to let the powers of the Precursors fall into the hands of the Archons, so she activated the device just as The Argent Hand were defeated. This device is likely the reason why the monks mined for such a powerful resource such as godsblood. It's assumed The First Scribe succumbed to the Gloom along with the rest of the monastery.
Omen realizes there is a connection between the collapse of Aurelian and the attack on Skylight: the Precursors. She states she was able to destroy the Precursor that attacked Skylight, but she is concerned that more are out there. It's clear the Precursors still hold on to their previous intentions to slaughter our gods and unravel creation, perhaps using the Gloom as a weapon to cause Evenor to collapse. We are at war, but we don't understand our enemy. She requests you search for The First Scribe in the Repository of Knowledge to find out more about these Precursors.
On your expedition into the repository, you are unable to locate The First Scribe, but you learn she may have survived the Gloomfall. In Skylight, Lord Halar has a breakthrough with his research on the Conflux Arc device. He states it triggered the Gloomfall by using a combination of chaos and shadow energies. He has you combine the Conflux Arc with your Gloom Dagger, allowing you to control the Gloom on a deeper level. Omen also explains the focusing shard, that you created your dagger from, was a shard of the fallen Precursor's sword. A sword that cut through the Gloom and allowed the Eldren to travel straight into the heart of Skylight. Using the new tech installed into your dagger, you are able to cut deeper into the Gloom, allowing you to locate The First Scribe. But before going into battle, Omen admits she is unable to leave Skylight, as she is bound to the Beacon, but she will always be with you in spirit.
Once within the repository, The First Scribe confirms she is not an echo, she did not die in the Gloomfall and has been trapped deep in the repository all this time. But you hold the key to escape; your Gloom Dagger that is capable of cutting through the Gloom. She was able to cast out an echo of herself to send her this key, Omen. Omen's memories of her purpose have faded, but yet she accomplished what she was made to do. The First goes on, explaining that she studied the work of the Arcs, saw the foundation of reality, and was convinced she could do better. She believes the Arcs made Evenor with many flaws; flaws that can be looked to through our past: endless wars between empires and cruel massacres of innocent people. She explains even the Arcs were guilty of cruelty. They created the Precursors for the sole purpose of using them for their labor. It is through the Precursors' hands that Evenor was shaped. They attempted to build beyond the Arcs' plans, to build something bigger and better. They managed to create the Eldren and the Maze. But once the Arcs discovered this, they tore their creations down and cast the Precursors out. However, The First intends for them to return and finish what they started. Once Evenor is wiped out, the Precursors will start anew, and she plans to be there with them, to create a better world. But you are able to put a stop to her plans and defeat her.
Back in Skylight, Omen explains she woke in the Highlands years ago, with no recollection of her past. She didn't know she was an echo like you until she saw The First Scribe through you. She states she does not share the same goals as The First and, just like you, she is able to carve her own path. She desires to bring the world out of this darkness, and with the data you collected from The First, she feels she has a good idea where to start.
By relighting the Beacons across Evenor, Omen and Lord Halar aim to push back the Gloom with the power of the Arcs. Ley lines connect every Beacon together, creating a web of arcane power that reaches across the world. The Signal Fires you use to travel across Skylight and the Highlands lay on top of these ley lines. They explain there are also Balefires that exist across this web, strengthening the connections between each Beacon. They have located a nearby Balefire that will allow us to connect Skylight to another region within the Avar Imperium called Frostmarch. They instruct you to find an outpost within Frostmarch, called Deepwood Holt, in order to find this Balefire and reignite it.
By cutting a path through the Gloom from Skylight to Deepwood Holt, you manage to relink their Balefire to Skylight's Beacon. However, the Balefire is weak; the arcane energy is being leached by something within the Gloom.
You discover there are other survivors living in Deepwood Holt and in the surrounding woods. You meet Graymourn, a witch, who tells you it is The Reaver King, Aturach the Deathless that is attempting to consume the power within the Balefire, and will likely come for Skylight's Beacon now that they are connected.
Before the Gloom, and even before this area became known as Deepwood Holt, these woods were home to the Woodwen; ancient warriors and mystics who understood and honored the ancient powers of the Frostmarch. Aturach was the last leader of the Woodwen. He was a good king; he chose to coexist with outsiders rather than fighting over the land, allowing Deepwood Holt to thrive. The Woodwen were Graymourn's people and Aturach, her king. But then the Gloom fell over the woods, corrupting Aturach and his people, causing them to become cruel, feral and bloodthirsty. Once they were the Woodwen; now they are Reavers, and they will not take kindly to you and your people taking refuge within their woods.
Aturach suddenly latches onto the arcane power the Beacon, allowing him access to a passage into your mind, similar to the passages Omen uses to speak to you when you travel through the Gloom. He uses this opportunity to send you a threat, claiming he is coming for the light of the Beacon and will send all the people of Deepwood Holt and Skylight into the Gloom. Omen is able to push him back, but it's clear his message does not carry empty threats.
It takes some convincing, but Graymourn agrees to help you. She explains that Aturach uses ancient magics to ward himself, protecting himself from death. In order to locate these wards, Graymourn instructs you to face the Storm Twins, the Reaver King's champions, and collect their essence. Graymourn uses their essence to retrace their steps, as they often accompanied their king while he did business. You discover Aturach and the twins traveled deep into Bal Duum, a cursed ancient mine, to hide the heart of Aturach's warbear companion named Marrow. He bound his lifeforce to Marrow, allowing himself to be resurrected as long as his bear lives; and while Marrow's heart is protected in the mines, Marrow is unable to be defeated as well. Graymourn instructs you to dive into Bal Duum and locate Marrow's heart, allowing you to kill the warbear and, subsequently, the Reaver King.
After you successfully locate Marrow's heart/essence, you face the challenge of travelling through the Gloom to Aturach's location. Graymourn knows he sits within the Heart of the Woods, but her connection to the Heart has been blocked. She believes it has been blocked by Aturach's wards, which are laced with the powers of the Gloom. Because of this, she is unable to bypass these wards, as she lacks knowledge and power of the Gloom. She curates a plan that calls upon ancient Woodwen rituals, forcing Aturach to honor a challenge to his crown. However, he does not answer your challenge, as he is no longer Woodwen. The Gloom has tainted him and he no longer respects the primal magics that he practices. This greatly upsets Graymourn, as she was the one to originally crown Aturach. She suggests you find a connection to him on your own, as the Gloom has changed him entirely from the man she use to know.
With the help of Seeker Avala, you are able to study the interactions between the Reavers and the Gloom through their rituals. We understand the Gloom to be made of the elements of chaos and shadow. However, in these woods, it appears the element of flora affects the Gloom as well. The Woodwen's deep connection to the woods have followed them as they changed into what they are now: Reavers. Such as plants feed off the sunlight, the flora within the Reavers feed off the shadow of the Gloom, funneling the energy of the Gloom into... something.
Avala explains that records within Chronicler Corbin's archives state that the Gloom first fell upon this region through the Heart of the Woods. She hypothesizes that something or someone (possibly the Reaver King) triggered the collapse there, and as the Heart of the Wood provides the Reavers with flora energy, the Reavers in turn feed the Heart of the Woods with the energy of the Gloom. She believes that if you follow the flora energy to its source, you will find Aturach.
In your attempt to follow the veins of flora, you run into an obstacle: the Dread Legion. Because the creature is made of pure Gloom, it suggests someone other than Aturach placed this ward, contrary to what Graymourn suggested. No matter, you are able to clear the path and Avala confirms the threads of flora energy do lead to the Heart of the Woods. However, she cannot provide a link that will allow you to enter the Heart, so she requests you speak with Graymourn, who does have a connection to the Heart.
You return to Graymourn with this newfound knowledge to request her help. Graymourn confirms her connection to the Heart of the Woods is no longer blocked. However, she states that you are not yet ready to face Aturach. He has a link to the Gloom that makes him too powerful for you to face. But if we are able to locate the source, we may be able to destroy it, allowing you to defeat him. She instructs you to locate the ley lines of magic that flow through the woods, as she believes Aturach uses these veins to feed his power. Once located, it is discovered that veins are entirely congested with the energy of the Gloom. Graymourn states it is impossible for Aturach to achieve this on his own, as the Heart is one of the pillars of the world, older and more powerful than the magic of the Architects. The power of it sustains all life, and Aturach simply does not have the strength to twist these roots with pure Gloom. Something else has corrupted the Heart, leaving it hollow and allowing it to become a source of Gloom for Aturach, just as Avala suggested.
Graymourn believes that if she establishes a connection with the Hollow Heart, she will be able to block Aturach from using it as a source of power. She attempts to establish a connection directly to the Hollow Heart after you obtain essence from Hollow Ones, children of the Heart, but it is not successful. She is possessed by a twisted seed placed in the Heart; a seed that may have caused the Frostmarch to succumb to the Gloom. Graymourn is able to sever the connection and push away the corrupted seed from her mind. She realizes through this experience that Aturach is not using the Heart and, in fact, it's the opposite. The Hollow Heart has possessed Aturach and uses him as a tool to spread corruption. She suspects it attached itself to him when he approached the Heart, seeking guidance from the forests primal energy on how to fight back the approaching Gloom.
Graymourn states her attempt to connect with the Hollow Heart has triggered a creature to rise from the corrupt seed; a manifestation from the Heart's hatred and hunger, called Wormwood. It appears to be like Aturach; another tool to spread corruption. She calls upon you to defeat this creature before it causes more damage to the woods.
After successfully defeating Wormwood, Graymourn weaves it's essence into yours, allowing you to breach deeper into the Gloom, straight to the Hollow Heart. You use this deeper connection to rip through the roots that connect the Reaver King to the source of his power, giving you a chance to defeat him. And you do just that. The Reaver King, Aturach the Deathless, and his warbear companion have been slain, and the connection between Skylight's Beacon and the Balefire within the Deepwood Holt has been firmly secured.
Graymourn is bound to vengeance against the beings who tainted the Heart of the Woods and wounded the primal spirit of nature. She wishes to have nothing more to do with you and your people, warning you that if your people are the cause of the Gloomfall, she will show no mercy. Omen is sure the Precursors are responsible for it's corruption, just as they were responsible for the Gloomfall in Aurelian and the attack on Skylight.
Though the Hollow Heart still remains a threat, the next objective is to recover vital supplies from Frostmarsh, locate the next Balefire and relight it. As we must continue to fight back the Gloom and restore Evenor.
|Chapter 2 - Founders Season 2|