August 3, 2006
The Distant Land of Elona
During recent days, I took some time to speak with a few of the visiting Elonians regarding their homeland. I learned that the realm of Elona is divided into three separate provinces, each offering a unique environment and exotic dangers. I spoke with representatives from each of the three provinces, and they gave me a bit of insight into their respective homelands.
The first of the three provinces I learned about was the Island province of Istan. Residents of Istan spoke of fantastic monuments left behind as remnants of a distant past. These monuments are scattered amongst the modern buildings of Istan, lending an intriguing appearance to the island province. Those Istani with whom I spoke were warm and kind, sharing information of their homeland with pride and delight. From what I understand, Istan is a land of heroes, and those who dwell within it are considered the protectors of Elona. Many of the standing monuments symbolize bygone glories of an ancient Elonian empire. I should very much like a chance to pay a visit to this fine land.
Next, I learned of the powerful military province of Kourna. A young Dervish and I discussed Kourna at length. While she seemed unwilling to talk about the politics of her homeland, she went into elaborate detail about the region itself, and the might of the army that dwells within. Kourna borders the vast Crystal Desert, and thus depends on a man-made irrigation system that brings water from the magnificent Elon River. The Elon River is essentially the only life source in an otherwise arid wasteland, enriching the soil and nurturing the land with its annual flooding. Despite the harsh environment, Kourna is the heart of Elona, housing a majestic army led by the descendant of a long-dead hero named Turai Ossa, whom the Elonians hold in high regard.
A noble Paragon spoke to me about Vabbi, the northernmost province of Elona. He spoke with pride about his home in the highlands, and praised Vabbi's marvelous wealth and beauty. The Paragon described the ornamental architecture used in the cities of Vabbi and, I must say, if his armor is any evidence of the land's splendor, I cannot wait for the chance to visit his homeland. The Paragon also mentioned that the surrounding mountains are littered with gem mines, and their treasures may provide an inspiration for the fabulous architecture seen throughout the province.
I was not able to discuss political or social issues with any of the Elonians. However, I learned enough of the Elonian homeland to make me desire more information. I hope the Elonians return to Tyria and Cantha some day soon. Or, perhaps, they will welcome us to their lands as we welcomed them to ours. Time will tell if this will come to pass. For now, let us remember the visitors with kindness and pray for their safe return to the lands of which they speak with such fondness and devotion.
Paragon and Dervish Add New Elements to Combat
Thousands upon thousands of combatants came to welcome—and challenge—the visiting Elonians who arrived in the Battle Isles this weekend. The Elonians' unique styles of warfare added many new elements to battle, which were quite effective at defeating even the strongest fighters of Tyria and Cantha. If these travelers choose to stay—or allow us to visit their homeland for training—I imagine many local residents will seek to learn their exotic forms of combat.
The Dervishes tore through the Battle Isles, leaving behind them a wake of carnage unseen since the height of the epic Guild Wars. They sliced through the toughest Warriors blocking their path, the powerful scythes then felling the less durable casters beyond. With an unshakable faith in the gods, Dervishes ensure their own salvation, which comes even to those who have spent their days in brutal combat. The ability to strike many opponents with one mighty swipe of their scythes accounts for the atrocious body count—and, in turn, a large clean-up job for us Monks.
The Paragons, while not as profuse in numbers as the Dervishes, offered another, perhaps more subtle, addition to warfare. A Paragon's extraordinary talent to lead armies is unmatched, and with skills that specialize in augmenting comrades, they quickly made a stunning impact on the battlefield. I rarely came across a band of soldiers who had not found and acquired the aid of a Paragon. In almost every case, it was quite evident that the arrangement was most advantageous.
Paragons were not as visibly effective as their scythe-wielding counterparts, primarily because they strive to aid the effectiveness of an army rather than seize personal victories. While overall the Dervish may slay more opponents in battle, the Paragon supports a large body of soldiers, greatly increasing the abilities of that army. Which of the two is more beneficial is a subject for debate, but a wise adventurer will neither underestimate nor under appreciate either profession.
The fine Monks of the Battle Isles are still working to clean up the aftermath of the Elonians' visit to the sacred battlegrounds. In anticipation of a possible second visit by the Elonians, the local combatants seek ways to defeat the foreign soldiers, while others prepare to enlist them in their guilds and alliances. I trust this will not be the last we hear from the fine people of Elona.
Random Acts of Kindness
Early in the week, I made a voyage to the Crystal Desert of Tyria to exchange stories with my long-time friend, Marchena. I assure you, once you get him past the constant babbling about his people being strong and brave, he is a fine person with whom to share an evening of storytelling. I made port in the Amnoon Oasis and gathered the water and food I would need to travel across the unforgiving wasteland of the Crystal Desert.
While purchasing my required supplies, I saw a young Warrior on the noble quest to reach Ascension. Monkey Sugar was quick to direct the Warrior to Augury Rock—the mystical location believed to hold the key to Ascension. Since my friend makes Augury Rock his abode, I accompanied the Warrior on his journey.
Upon arriving at our destination after miles of endless questioning—and, of course, godlike patience on my part—my comrade was quick to begin asking even more detailed questions about reaching Ascension. My ghostly friend Marchena drew me away before I could once again offer assistance, but I did see Negate The Light patiently answer every question in great detail. I thank you personally, brave Negate The Light. Your forbearance would impress Dwayna herself.
After my visit with Marchena, I was called back to Shing Jea Island to perform a healing ceremony for a farmer from Tsumei Village who had taken ill. Upon arrival in the village, I overheard Rikku Of Cantha offering aid to any in need. Such indiscriminant acts of kindness—freely given—better the world around us.
Kind acts such as these make my many travels bright and pleasant. I thank all of you who help your fellows, including those I have witnessed, and those that have gone unseen.
August 3, 2006
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