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Lothern – March of the Asur

Spanning from West to East across Lothern, the March of the Asur is a wide boulevard bisecting the city. From the West Gate beyond the twin towers of Aenarion and Astraielle one enters the Bel-Korhandis Plaze surrounded by four massive estates of the powerful noble houses of Lothern, each proudly housing many generations of High Elves. Each manor denotes centuries of High Elf prominence proudly displayed in the elegant architecture. Housed in the various estates are potent magical relics from the various exploits of the nobles; it is said that these various relics harness the powers of the gods of the world.

Magically levitating at the center of the plaza is an awe-inspiring tower divided into three tiers. The top most tier is an intricate aerie left to the mighty eagles of Lothern from which the tower derives its name. The middle tier is a beautiful marble plaza surrounded by a colonnade and an exquisite balcony – it is at the center of this floor that the eldest High Elves tell tales of grandeur to the youth of Lothern and for this reason is is noted as a tower of wisdom. The lower tier is a crystalline hemisphere containing a magically replenishing pool of water which constantly cascades down onto the shrine below it in the plaza. Though the Eagle Tower floats at the center of the plaza, sunlight mysteriously bends around it and fills the entire plaza so that the Eagle Tower casts no shadow. The Eagle Tower is only accessible via the shrine when the eight winds align and empower the font of Hoeth within the shrine.

Continuing east beyond the Bel-Korhandis Plaza down the March of the Asur one catches a glimpse of the Phoenix Throne and its lofty Phoenix Tower to the north. Then one enters a long tunnel spanning the length of the Phoenix Throne under the Palace Gardens. Though the Gardens are restricted to the noble elite of Ulthuan and prominent dignitaries, the common High Elf can briefly bask in their glory as they walk down this tunnel of grape-vines. The entire length of the tunnel is a grape-vine trellis allowing fluid transit through the city from east to west along the March of the Asur, but it is a distinct feature of the Palace Gardens.

The Palace Gardens are a walled labyrinth of nature’s beauty opening unto beautiful groves and meadows; it is said that the walls have a mind of their own and magically shift at their own will changing the course of the labyrinth daily. At the center of the labyrinth is the Pool of the Asur and a beautiful tower which floats above it. The pool is said to be a collection of the tears of Isha and it is to have the strongest healing properties known to Ulthuan, yet if the waters are taken beyond the walls of the labyrinth they vaporize. To the north of the labyrinth a beautiful terrace and small fountains lay over the March of the Asur, the fountains constantly giving nurturing waters to the grape-vines below.

Exiting the grape-vine trellis tunnel of the Palace Gardens a traveler emerges upon the Phoenix Guard barracks and the East Gate.

Winds of Hoeth : Bel-Korhandis Plaza
Phase 1 : Empower the Font of Hoeth

The Estates of the Bel-Korhandis Plaza
It is said that the estates of the Bel-Korhandis plaza contain many powerful relics charged with the powers of different gods from around the world. With such powerful artifacts within their vaults, each estate is magically charged to contain the power of the foreign gods. Each estate is protected by two of the eight winds of magic; and thus despite their competition, these four estates are linked both physically by sky-bridges and magically by the combined power of the Winds of Magic. However, one must be careful for the eight Winds shield themselves with the images of magnificent treasures, much like the relics of the foreign gods, and toying with the wrong powers can have unforeseen backlashes. When these eight orbs are empowered the font of Hoeth under the shrine at the center of the plaza takes on a new life and anyone who drinks from it is taken up to the Eagle Tower. Due to its link to the Winds of  Magic, the Bel-Korhandis Plaza and the noble houses are guarded by a regiment of Swordmasters from the White Tower of Hoeth.

Phase 2: Defeat the Champions of Hoeth
Champions of Hoeth
Upon activating the Font of Hoeth five mighty champions of the White Tower descend from the Eagle Tower in a last effort to halt the invaders from ascending the Eagle Tower. Four Swordmasters clad in the finest armor of Vaul’s Anvil and a deceivingly harmless figure emerge and surround the Font of Hoeth. The four champions clad in armor are level 54 champions, the Guardian of the Eagle Tower is a level 54 hero. Despite his appearance and the lack of armor, the Guardian of the Eagle Tower has an incredibly high parry rate and is rather fluid in his movements. Although the tank may hold aggro on him, he will constantly dance around whomever has aggro on him thus shifting his position in combat. To defeat him the invaders must likewise be fluid in their movements and reactions.

Eltharion the Grim
Once the Guardian of the Eagle Tower and his four attendants are defeated, one may use the Font of Hoeth to teleport up into the Eagle Tower and see what powerful force awaits them. The invaders are teleported onto the wide balcony outside the colonnade surrounding the marble foyer. At the center a tall grim figure patiently waits for them. The boss for this Public Quest is none other than Eltharion the Grim, Warden of Tor Yvresse. He is a 66 MPAT level 58 Lord (for a description of what a 66 MPAT is, refer to my Introduction to Eka’s Supreme Ward Dungeon post.) In regards to what his mechanic is, he has every ability, tactic, and morale a Swordmaster has and will use them all with flexibility in combat; thus, Eltharion the Grim’s mechanic cannot be predicted. Though he is blind, he is the most powerful Swordmaster of Ulthuan and wielding his mighty longsword ‘Fangsword’ he deals wide spread area-of-effect spirit damage. He also wears the Helm of Yvresse which lowers his chance to be critically hit. Like the Guardian of the Eagle Tower, his combat style is fluid Blade-dancing, this means that although when aggro-ed he will focus his damage on whoever has aggro-ed him, he will dance around his target thus using his high parry to maximum effectiveness. Once again to defeat him, the invaders will have to remain fluid in their combat if they wish to damage him. He does not have a predictable mechanic in terms of ‘at so and so percent of his health he does this’ or ‘at so and so seconds he does this’ but rather he has a mechanic which is prompted by his dialogue. He will enter a monologue and when he is done he will channel a 360 degree whirlwind as he swings his sword viciously and this whirlwind in addition to doing damage will push people back, eventually over the balcony down to the Bel-Korhandis plaza below. To counter this one can hide behind the colonnade or attempt to run against the winds. During this Whirlwind of Hoeth, eagles from the upper levels of the tower will also swoop down to attack the invaders in burst damage upon impact and a small knock back. These eagles can be ‘deflected’ by healers using their renown ability ‘Shield of the Skies’.
Upon defeating Eltharion the Grim he has an ‘x’% chance of dropping a repairable Monarch Belt for tanks and healers. He also has an ‘x’% chance of dropping a one-handed axe for Choppas – “Da Wind Cutta”.

Fiery Grotto : Palace Gardens
Phase 1: Taint the Pool of the Asur

The Phoenix Guard Barracks
Although the quest does not point one in this direction, if the invaders follow the March of the Asur east through the grape-vine trellis-tunnel towards the East Gate then they come upon the Phoenix Guard Barracks. These two massive buildings along the eastern wall of Lothern, as their name would indicate, house a regiment of the Phoenix King’s elite guard. The massive courtyard between the Palace Gardens and the East Gate serves as their training grounds, and in times of peace is where the career and renown trainers would be located. Appropriately so this courtyard is crawling with Phoenix Guards, and the walls above the gate are lined with High Elf Repeating Bolt Throwers. The siege weapons can once again be accessed via a postern inside the gatehouse; unfortunately it is too deep in the city for the Dark Elf manticore riders to make it alive. The highly defended barracks can be set ablaze, but rest assured the battle inside them will not be easy for these are the elite defenders of Ulthuan.

The Palace Gardens
The actual Pool of the Asur is located within the Palace Gardens which are accessible through three massive gates at the west, east, and south sides of the Gardens (the north entrance consists of bridges over the moat connecting the Palace Gardens to the Phoenix Throne, which are blocked off).  The Gardens themselves are divided into two parts, the northern forth consisting of the raised terrace above the March of the Asur with its elegant dining tables and fountains, and descending flights of stairs, the southern three fourths consisting of the Labyrinth. The Labyrinth, as its name would indicate, is a maze and for this purpose it would show up as a generic map on the mini-map (it wouldn’t actually coincide with the layout of the Labyrinth). Also, the layout of the Labyrinth would change every new instance of the dungeon (it would have a random rotation of about six to ten layouts), because as I stated earlier, its walls are enchanted and realign themselves daily. At the heart of the Labyrinth is the Pool of the Asur formed by the tears of Isha and the Tower of Isha floating above it, ever weeping tears into the pool below. The Labyrinth is guarded by denizens of the wood and the occasional Phoenix Guard sentry. All one has to do for this Public Quest is find the center of the Labyrinth and attempt to taint the pool with dark magics.

Caradryan Ryman
When the invaders attempt to taint the Pool of the Asur, Caradryan Ryman, Captain of the Phoenix Guard appears by the will of Isha in the grotto to protect the sacred pool of the Phoenix Kings. Caradryan Ryman is a level 58 Lord and has a slightly more predictable nature about him. Using the halberd of the Phoenix Guard Captain ‘Flame Blade’ he deals elemental damage and has a powerful cleave which does a burst amount of damage, but the damage is divisible by those hit by it (so it hits one person for ‘x’ or two people for ‘x/2’) – however, it is meant to one-shot a single tank, thus it is intended for two tanks to eat the cleave. He also has an ability called ‘Flame of the Asur’ which is a cone area of effect DoT on the ground, thus forcing the tank to burn in the flames or shift positions – the width of this ability is sufficiently wide enough to span a Labyrinth passageway. His third ability is an area of effect shatter enchantment ‘Cleansing Flame’ which removes up to three enchantments from all enemies up to 100 feet away. These unique abilities operate on their own cooldowns and he will use them randomly, each prompted by an animation (he can’t prompt via dialogue because Phoenix Guards don’t talk). Additionally, so long as he is within 100 feet of the Pool of the Asur he will be healed by ‘x’ per second, so the invaders must pull him away from the pool deeper into the Labyrinth to counter these effects. As if the fight wasn’t tough enough, at 50% he will summon reinforcements from the Phoenix Guard Barracks in the form of a wave of up to six champions, however if you set the Barracks on fire they will not appear. And finally, fiery birds would become activated throughout the Labyrinth when Caradryan Ryman enters is and they will randomly fly about the Labyrinth and explode if they get within 20 feet of a target dealing elemental damage, fortunately they have about 500 health and can be easily killed. Though his abilities are predictable, not like a 66 MPAT, he is by no means meant to be easy. In accordance with the Phoenix Guard code, he does not speak until his final moments of life at which he uses the Mark of Asuryan burned onto his forehead and calls upon the god for aid. Using this ability, at 5% health he will single someone out and Asuryan will smite them, killing them instantly – the target will never be the person holding aggro on him.
Upon defeating Captain Caradryan Ryman he has an ‘x’% chance of dropping a repairable Monarch Cape for range dps classes. He also has an ‘x’% chance of dropping a two-hander for Chosen – “Flame of Archaon”.

The Lore
Our two principal characters along the March of the Asur are Eltharion the Grim, Warden of Tor Yvresse, and Caradryan Ryman, Captain of the Phoenix Guard. I do not know much lore about Caradryan Ryman aside from him once being an arrogant noble flaunting his wealth about, but on his pilgrimage to the Shrine of Asuryan he entered the Chamber of Days and saw horrors untold and forsake his worldy possessions and took the vow of the Phoenix Guard. Eltharion the Grim on the other hand is a huge figure in Warhammer’s High Elf lore. He is the only general to lead a successful raid on Naggaroth and return alive. However, during his raid he was poisoned by a Witch Elf and on the brink of death, but a dream led him to return home to see his family slaughtered and lands besieged by the greenskins. He successfully repelled the greenskins and saved Tor Yvresse and was made the Warden of Tor Yvresse. Soon after he rode out to fight Malekith at Anlec and was barely defeated in single combat by the Witch King, after which Malekith tortured him, burned his eyes out, and sent him back to the Phoenix King as an example. And so he went to recuperate in the White Tower of Hoeth and became the famous blind swordmaster-general.

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