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This storyline article is a recount of the story of the second Guild Wars campaign released in April of 2006. Becoming familiar with the key dates in the history of Cantha as well as reading the background on Shiro Tagachi will help make certain events in this story clearer.
The story in the Factions Campaign follows the players in their quest to put a stop to Shiro Tagachi who has returned from beyond the Mists to destroy the balance of the universe. In their quest, the players are guided by Master Togo, the head of the Shing Jea Monastery and half-brother to Emperor Kisu, and Brother Mhenlo, a former student of Master Togo and a famous figure in Tyria.
Players begin the story as promising trainees in the Shing Jea Monastery. They receive training from the several Headmasters in the Monastery, become versed in two Professions, and earn their Insignia.
Master Togo is impressed by the player's performance, and decides to introduce them to Minister Cho personally. When the group arrives at Minister Cho's Estate, however, they find only chaos. A disease has afflicted the residents of the Estate. The players follow Master Togo through the Estate as they rush to save the Minister. Unfortunately, when they reach him, they discover that Minister Cho has turned into a vile diseased creature and thus they are forced to destroy him.
The disease slowly spreads through the different areas of the Island, causing a frantic search by Master Togo and his students as to the root of this affliction. Examining different clues leads Master Togo into believing that the plague originated on the eastern side of the island. As the players make their way through the holy valley of Zen Daijun they discover that it was there that the affliction hit hardest. Battling hordes of Afflicted creatures and a vile miasma that threatens to wipe them out, the party is able to reach the sacred Daijun Library in the valley and defeat the Afflicted Kana who was leading the corrupted forces.
Evil has returned...
Upon examining the library, Master Togo makes a startling discovery: Shiro Tagachi, the Betrayer, has returned once again to threaten the land of Cantha. This grave discovery compels Togo to head to Kaineng City to seek the counsel of his brother, Emperor Kisu. He also sends a request for aid to his former Tyrian student, Brother Mhenlo.
Togo arrives to find that the plague has already spread to Kaineng City. Together with his students who accompanied him to the mainland, they try to combat the disease and prevent it from destroying their homeland.
The Afflicted City
Together with Eve, Aidan, Cynn and Devona, Mhenlo and the players journey to Cantha. At the pier, they are greeted by Jamei, a former classmate of Mhenlo at the Shing Jea Monastery, who tells the players that Master Togo awaits them in Bukdek Byway. They pass through Kaineng Center, the seat of power in the Kingdom of Cantha, and arrive just in time to see Master Togo beset upon by the Afflicted.
The Seed of Evil
The Canthan students of Master Togo and the Tyrian visitors with Brother Mhenlo meet up in Vizunah Square and together fight off scores of Afflicted. They successfully purge the Afflicted from Vizunah Square, but in the final wave, they come upon a Shiro'ken in the service of Shiro Tagachi. When the players defeat this creature, Shiro takes his Envoy form, slays everyone, and departs, satisfied.
Several other Envoys arrive at the scene. They are dismayed at Shiro, who is shirking his responsibility of leading souls to the Mists, and is instead using these souls to power his army of malice. To counter Shiro's methods they decide to play things his way. They restore the players' lives, but in return ask that the players put an end to Shiro. To do that, the players must first become Weh no Su, Closer to the Stars, which will enable them to see and fight spiritual beings such as Shiro in the mortal realm.
Closer to the Stars
Weh no Su requires the players to undertake a test in Nahpui Quarter. They have to battle the Celestial creatures representing the four major vices. When the players succeed in defeating the Celestials, Suun tells them that they may now seek guidance from the spirits of the Heroes of Cantha at Tahnnakai Temple.
When the players reach the Temple, they are informed by Mhenlo that Master Togo and Nika, the Obsidian Flame assassin, have gone to stave off an assault of the Afflicted and are in grave danger. The players arrive in time to save Togo and Nika, and Master Togo gains them admission to the Temple.
Bound to the Betrayer
Inside the Temple, the players find a grim situation. Shiro Tagachi has imprisoned the spirits of the ancient heroes in his spirit binders. While others fell before his power, Vizu the assassin that caused his defeat at the Harvest Ceremony two centuries ago, still resists Shiro's will. The players have to move fast to free her from the spirit binder before her soul is consumed.
The Urn and the Spear
The first task is to recover the artifact Urn of Saint Viktor from the Kurzicks. Luckily, Count zu Heltzer's daughter, Danika, is paying a visit to the Imperial city. The Emperor thinks that Danika may be the key to winning the Count's favor, so he instructs the players to track her down and enlist her aid. She agrees to help them and leads them to her father.
The Count does not oppose giving the Urn to help defeat Shiro. However, the Urn is presently unavailable to the Kurzicks themselves: it is consecrated in Cathedral zu Heltzer, a once holy place that now lies in ruins. The magical wards protecting the place failed long ago and the place is overrun by Wardens and fouler creatures.
A Cathedral Defiled
In the Arborstone mission, players accompany Danika and Mhenlo to the Cathedral to retrieve the Urn. As they lift the Urn, the Cathedral starts to collapse around them and the entrance caves in, blocking the players' escape. Mhenlo alone makes it out safely. The players make their way through the collapsing Cathedral and escape out of the back door into the Altrumm Ruins.
Defeating the Kraken
Master Togo then leads the players to Boreas Seabed to acquire the Spear of Archemorus from the Luxons. They arrive on the day of the Convocation, when the three Luxon Clans compete in gladiatorial combat for the honor of wielding the Spear to slay the Kraken Zhu Hanuku and holding it until the next Convocation.
The players enter the competition for the Spear and defeat the Champions of the three Clans. The honor of defeating Zhu Hanuku thus falls to them, and they wield the Spear admirably to slay the Kraken. As they are about to celebrate, Mhenlo comes rushing in with terrible news. The afflicted are on the march on the City and the Emperor fears an attack.
An End to Shiro, for now
The Imperial Guard discover that Shiro has been amassing an afflicted army in the Undercity. The Emperor tells the players to lead a squadron of Palace Guards to Sunjiang District, which is the source of the disturbance.
At Sunjiang District, the players uncover Shiro's plan. He has been opening spirit rifts into the human world to bring forth Shiro'ken that will fight for him. These spirits are more powerful than the shambling Afflicted forces. The players decide to close the rifts and confront Shiro before his army increases to an unmanageable size.
When they finally make it to Shiro, he inhabits four different constructs and assaults them. They succeed in defeating Shiro's constructs. However, everyone is certain that this is not the end of Shiro.
The Envoys arrive then to direct the players to seek the aid of the Kurzicks and the Luxons to put an end to Shiro. Their ceremonial items will not be enough; instead, only their united might will have a chance to defeat Shiro once and for all.
Everyone Must Choose a Side
In order to convince the two nations that they need to unite against Shiro, Master Togo and Mhenlo decide to split up, and encourage the players to do the same. Mhenlo heads to the Kurzicks to convince them to join the effort and Master Togo heads to the Luxons.
Players must choose to befriend either the Luxons or the Kuricks by raising 10,000 points of Faction with the respective nation.
The Forever Trees
Those players who befriend the Kurzicks are entrusted with a duty of utmost importance. They must lead three volunteers to the Eternal Grove, there to become Elite Juggernauts, the immortal defenders of the forest. When they arrive at the Grove, they are attacked by Luxon forces bent on destroying the Forever Trees, the source of the Juggernauts, and thereby putting an end to the Kurzick war machine.
During the Eternal Grove mission, the players hold back the Luxon attack, but are surprised to see the Luxons surrender half-way through the fight. The explanation is soon apparent: an army of the Afflicted has arrived behind the Luxons, bent on destroying all humans in their path.
Against a common enemy, the remaining Luxons and Kurzicks ally and hold the Grove. The Kurzicks burn the corpses of the Afflicted to erase all chance of contagion, and over their smoldering remains their new Luxon allies give the players news of Master Togo: he and the Luxons are headed towards the Harvest Temple in the Unwaking Waters.
Young Giant Turtles
The players who come to seek the aid of the Luxons are entrusted with securing and delivering the eggs of their giant turtles to the Gyala Hatchery. At the Hatchery the eggs hatch into Young Turtles, who are then led to the Leviathan Pits.
During the Gyala Hatchery mission, players defend a caravan of Young Turtles heading to the Pits against raids from the Kurzicks who wish to destroy these Luxon beasts of war when they are most vulnerable. The players help the Luxons protect the Young Turtles. After defeating several waves of Kurzicks, they are suddenly attacked by the Afflicted. Horrified, Luxon and Kurzick alike fight beside each other to halt the Afflicted attack.
Before the two sides can resume their animosity, Master Togo arrives on the scene to tell them that the return of the Afflicted signals the return of Shiro. They must stop their foolish war and form an alliance to put an end to Shiro. The Luxons and the Kurzicks see merit in Master Togo's advice, and do as he instructs.
On the Trail of the Betrayer
United, the Kurzick and the Luxon players meet up at the Unwaking Waters to seek an audience with the dragon Kuunavang, who now resides in the Harvest Temple. Kuunavang herself is corrupted by Shiro's influence and puts up a strong resistance against the players. The players have to combine forces and hold off several waves of the Afflicted and Kuunavang's devastating attacks until they finally make their way to the top of the Harvest Temple at the bottom of the Unwaking Waters and defeat her.
Once defeated, her enslavement to Shiro is broken, and she offers her aid to the players. She holds council with the players and Envoys as they try to figure out Shiro's plan. They conclude that Shiro is preparing a spell to return to the mortal realm, and he lacks only one component to undo his original curse: spilling the blood of the Imperial line, again.
The Final Showdown
The Race for the Emperor
The players rush frantically back to Raisu Palace, but they are too late to stop Shiro. His Shiro'ken army has overrun the palace's defenses. With the Palace Guard scrambling to assemble a response, Shiro himself makes it to the Imperial Sanctum, the Emperor's own throne room, where he slays all the royal retinue and proceeds to bind the Emperor in his spell.
The players arrive to find the Palace locked down. With the help of Kuunavang and her gift of celestial skills, and the aid of several allies they have made along the way, the players begin a fight to the Sanctum through the Shiro'ken army and the vast maze-like halls of Raisu Palace.
A Brother for a Brother
When they reach the Sanctum, Togo rushes to his brother's aid. Shiro appears then in a flash and kidnaps Master Togo! He escapes with Togo deep into the Imperial gardens. Shiro had sensed Togo's Imperial blood and took advantage of the players' focus on the Emperor to obtain another soul who would fit his plan just as well. He slays Master Togo in cold blood and completes his return to the mortal realm.
An End to Evil
There is no time to mourn for Togo. Shiro must be stopped. Mhenlo leads the players to the final battle with Shiro.
With Kuunavang's aid, the players once again confront Shiro Tagachi. Shiro is tremendously powerful in battle, but his renewed mortality also brings a vulnerability: death.
It is a difficult battle, but the players triumph. As Shiro dies, the acolytes of the Star Temple led by Suun appear and seal Shiro's mortal form in jade. Shiro's spirit comes into the keeping of the Envoys because he has died a mortal's death. Shiro can no longer demand anything of the Envoys. When asked of their plans for Shiro, the Envoys simply say that they have prepared a special place in the Underworld for Shiro to do penance for his sins.
Warning: The following text contains spoilers relating to the plot of Nightfall Campaign.
This is then confirmed by players fighting Shiro again in the Realm of Torment, meaning he was taken (like the Lich Lord) to the Dark Lord Abaddon's realm. But he was able to move freely in this dimension and even summon his Shiro'ken.
The players have saved Cantha. They have defeated Shiro, stopped the plague, united the warring factions, and saved the Emperor. This is a joyous occasion, and people from all around Cantha appear to pay their respects to the new heroes of Cantha.