At the time of this writing, I started playing Path of Exile a few months ago. I did so at the suggestion of Focused Fire Chat’s Bluecrew86. He insisted that the loot driven nature of the game was scratching his Diablo 2 itch. Given that I never played any of the Diablos, I figured I would at least take a look. Boy was I overwhelmed! It took me a few days to gather the courage to download the game to my XBox and give it a go and I am so glad I did. At this time, I have one character on XBox and one character on PC. I do enjoy the PC version over the XBox version, but I must admit that the XBox version is not bad at all.
It will be impossible for me to summarize Path of Exile in a single article and do it the justice it deserves. That being said, my intentions moving forward are to deliver small bite size glimpses into this amazing world and story that I have fallen in love with. This first article will simply introduce you to the history that took place before the game. Not in great detail, by any means, but it should give you a nice overview leading up to us landing on the beach in the first Act. If you have not tried PoE as of reading this, I hope you give it a try after. If not, I hope that you enjoy reading about this world, it’s characters.and their deeds.
In the Beginning
Path of Exile takes place on the continent of Wraeclast. It was once inhabited by many different races of people: Vaal, Azmeri, Maraketh and Ezomytes. During these early days, men and women were able to achieve godhood merely through their ambition and adoration by their people. Many of these gods began to abuse their powers and they plagued the lands of Wraeclast with war and strife. One of the gods, Sin, wanted to free the people from the other gods and made the Beast within the Mountain, also referred to as Nightmare. Through the Beasts influence, the gods feel into the slumber of darkness.
Over the aeons that followed, many men and women learned of the great power of the Beast and would try to harness that power for themselves. Each time this happened, it lead almost all of their civilizations being wiped out.
Another byproduct of the Beast was the creation of gems inside the mountain from which it resided. When these gems were socketed into armor or weapons, they bestowed great powers to their wielders. Soon, it was learned that even greater power could be obtained by implanting the sockets directly into one’s flesh. This act is known as Thaumaturgy. These gems are later referred to as Virtue Gems.
The Vaal were the earliest known civilization to become involved in the use and study of Virtue Gems. They were fearsome warriors whos gems were powered by the sacrifice of their foes. But even though they were great warriors, they revered peace and sent ambassadors to other lands to maintain that peace. This is where the Vaal made their first contact with the more primitive Azmeri. The Vaal began to share all their knowledge with them – except their knowledge of Virtue Gems and Thaumaturgy.
Around 500 years later the Vaal queen Atziri came to power, whom became obsessed with youth and longevity. She instructed her thaumaturgist, Doryani, to help her achieve these at any cost. Doryani learned of the existence of the Beast and believed that it’s power could help him achieve Atziri’s wishes. When he tried to commun with it, by gathering all their Virtue Gems together in a cradle on the night of the harvest moon, his actions wounded the Beast. The Beast, in an effort to defend itself, wiped out millions of the Vaal and only 3,000 survived. This event became known as, The Fall. These survivors traveled to the home of the Azmeri and integrated into their civilization.
The Eternal Empire
400 years after The Fall took place, an Azmerian shepherd boy named Tarcus Veruso led a group of people down from the mountains and into the ruins of the once great Vaal civilization. There he established a new empire, known as The Eternal Empire. Tarcus outlawed the use of Virtue Gems and the practice of Thaumaturgy. Throughout the reign of Tarcus and his successor, much of the empire was fraught with trouble by a dark being. A general by the name of Alano Phrecia managed to subdue the dark being and seal it away and as a result, was named emperor. Phrecia’s descendants would thus rule over the Eternal Empire for over a thousand years.
The last Phrecian Emperor was named Izaro, whom was unable to conceive an heir. Hence, he decided to use an old Azmerian custom of selecting a ruler by choosing the first person to successfully navigate Izaro’s labyrinth. This labyrinth was filled with beasts, vicious traps and puzzles. The first man who was able to complete the labyrinth successfully was Chitus, who bribed and deceived his way through many of the obstacles.
As emperor, Chitus began to aggressively expand the empire into neighboring nations and enslaving the conquered. Soon after, a thaumaturgist by the name of Malachai allied himself with Chitus. Malachai convinced Chitus that he could make the citizens of the empire more “eternal” through the use of Virtue Gems, just as the Vaal had. Malachai began implanting gems in many of the imperial citizens, who became known as Gemlings. The work Malachai was most proud of was a woman named Dialla and she became known as the Gemling Queen.
It was around this time that Malachai had three thaumaturgists serve as apprentices under him. They were Shavronne, Maligaro and Doedre. While studying under Malachai, they also attempted to push the practice and study of thaumaturgy in new directions, which created very powerful abominations.
Although becoming a Gemling was quite popular among the nobles of the empire – many of the common imperial citizens become discontent. Many saw the Gemlings as unnatural and perversions. One of these was a popular poet by the name of Victario Nevalius. While this discontent grew, the slaves captured by the empire of the surrounding nations began to clamer for their freedom. It didn’t take very long, before a rebellion rose up against the empire. This rebellion was known as The Purity Rebellion. It’s sole purpose was to overthrow Chitus and once again abolish the use of Virtue Gems.
The Purity Rebellion
The leader of this rebellion against Chitus was High Templar Voll. With the help of Vicatio, he recruited other groups to his cause and soon, war broke out. The Karui, led by Kaom, invaded the southern coast of Wraeclast and overthrew General Marceus Lioneye who had previously led slave raids against the Karui. After this, the Maraketh, led by Deshret, fought and conquered General Hector Titucius and reclaimed their lands that Chitus had stolen from them. Next, the Ezomytes, led by Rigwald, overthrew the slavemaster General Gaius Sentari.
Altogether, led by High Templar Voll, they laid siege to the imperial capital and eventually took it. Voll entered the city and was crowned emperor.
The Rapture Device
Voll sentenced Malachai to death for creation of the Gemlings, as well as the ethical abuses involved in the practice. Malachai swore to help Voll defeat the Beast, only by sparing his life, thus cleansing Wraeclast of the source of all thaumaturgy. In doing so, Malachai created the Rapture Device.
Voll led Malachai, Dialla and the device north into the mountain where the Beast resided. There, Malachai betrayed the others by using the device to enter the black core of the Beast and taking control over it. He then used to the Beasts power of Nightmare to incite the Cataclysm, an event similar to the Fall. This event wiped out the Eternal Empire and most of its citizens. Malachai then resurrected his three pupils – Shavronne, Maligaro and Doedre (each of which was killed during the Purity Rebellion) – to act as his servants and guard the weakest innards of the Beast.
As a result of the Cataclysm, the Gemlings that remained were warped into creatures known as the Undying. The dead began to rise and hunt the living and animals that were formerly docile herbivores became violent carnivores.
This is the condition of Wraeclast at the start of the events of the game.
If you are interested in a particular topic or want to give your feedback, related to Path of Exile, please let me know down below. I look forward to the research of more in-depth topics and sharing the results with everyone here.
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