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History of Wraeclast

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An attempt to piece together the history of Wraeclast from clues from NPC dialog, item flavour text, and other canonical sources in Path of Exile. Where possible, information is presented from an in-universe point of view, at the time the game begins.

Note: Because information from sources like Insider Newsletters is very likely to change before it makes it into the game, while in-game lore is relatively fixed (or at least, changes can be fairly easily tracked), only in-game lore has been consulted. If you have interesting lore from other places, though, stick it on the Discussion page!

Contents

Vaal

The Vaal are the oldest known race in Wraeclast, almost completely forgotten in modern times[1]. They built the Vaal Ruins that entombed a weird darkness[2], they built the Ancient Pyramid[3], and presumably they also built the Vaal Oversoul, or at least its mechanical frame. A number of the monsters in the Vaal-created areas are called "constructs" (Ancient Construct, Vaal Construct, Serpentine Construct) so presumably they had some biological or thaumaturgical technology. Although the Vaal civilisation was peaceful[4], they practiced human sacrifice[5][6].

Tears of Maji

The Vaal were also the first to use virtue gems[7], known to them as "Tears of Maji"[8]. Icius Perandus claims that "The Vaal were even more steeped in gem culture than our Emperor and his 'Gemlings'. It's an obsession as old as civilization itself." in one of the Golden Pages[9]. Siosa's translation of the first Golden Page also mentions that the Vaal gathered their virtue gems at "Doryani's Cradle" to ensure the Vaal civilization's future. The nature and purpose of this cradle is uncertain[10]. Given the fact that Eramir claims it was the Vaal that began the use of virtue gems and the fact that Siosa claims that "gem culture" is as old "as civilization itself", one may assume that the Vaal were the very first civilization.

Atziri and Doryani

The last queen of the Vaal was named Atziri, who owned fabulous treasure[11]. She allegedly sacrificed all those who opposed her, as Siosa's translation of the second Golden Page mentions that she "drenches her altars with the blood of those deranged enough to question her vision"[12]. She appears to have been the patron of Doryani - a thaumaturgist - similar to Chitus's patronage of Malachai[13]. It is said that she "wished to see her likeness reflected in the still waters of history." indicating a vain personality.[14] Siosa mentions that Doryani was a man of "divine talent and demented ambition", comparing him to Malachai. He presumably was a Vaal thaumaturgist of sorts, given the comparison to Malachai[15].

Atziri sought immortality and eternal youth, inspired by the Vaalish noble and serial killer Zerphi. Zerphi lived for 168 years, yet "it is claimed that Zerphi did not possess the body of a 168-year old, rather that, his corpse had the physiognomy of a man twenty years, no more." It is implied that Zerphi had some method of stealing the youth of his victims. Towards reproducing this feat, Atziri sent young men and women to be "processed" by Doryani, in numbers so large that their names filled "page upon page"[16]. It is likely this quest was related to the end of the Vaal civilization.

The End of Vaal Civilization (c. 400 BIC)

The Vaal civilisation seems to have ended as the result of some internal event rather than external conquest[17][18]. This event may be the mysterious "communion" the Vaal were seeking before their demise according to Icius Perandus as is written in one of the Golden Pages: "A communion... but with what? By all accounts, it wasn't God that the Vaal were trying to reach."[19]. Said communion took place during the harvest moon, and Doryani was at the heart of this event[20]. Both Atziri and Doryani died in the cataclysm, as did many others. Some people also "changed" (possibly a reference to the Vaal Fallen found in the Pyramid?)[21]. On the Golden Page (Siosa's translation, not the flavour text) that mentions this, the words "sleep", "nightmare" and "the Beast" are also mentioned, and that the Vaal have "failed" themselves[22]. This may be a reference to the Vaal Oversoul, which is also called "nightmare" in game by some of the classes.

Siosa believes the end of Vaal civilization must have been very similar to the fall of Sarn[23].

Patching this information together, it may be that the Vaal were expecting to save their civilization at a so-called "communion", which was possibly related to Doryani's "cradle" of virtue gems, and that this communion caused the cataclysm (waking the Oversoul which is defeated at the end of Act 2, and turning many Vaal people into the Vaal Fallen which are also found in the Ancient Pyramid in Act 2).

The Azmeri

Encountering the Vaal (c. 900-400 BIC)

The Azmeri people hail from the Azmerian Mountains [24]. They first encountered the Vaal about 500 years before the Vaal fell, or about 900 BIC[25]. The Vaal helped the fledgling Azmeri civilization advance[26], but guarded their knowledge of Virtue Gems[27].

After the Vaal fell, 3,126 Vaal refugees assimilated into the Azmeri civilization[28].

Imperialus Conceptus (1 IC)

Tarcus Veruso descended from the mountains with his eighty thousand tribesmen and women through the doomlands to Azala Vaal. There he planted his banner upon Atziri's grave and with these words founded our great and eternal empire.

"The Vaal closed their eyes to flesh and stone, to blood and bronze. We are not Vaal. We are Azmeri. For now and forever, our eyes are open."

Veruso build his capital upon the bones of Azala Vaal and baptized it Sarn. From there, Veruso formed the first Legions and proceeded to conquer the lands beneath the Mantle, clearing it of the mindless constructs and fierce abominations left in the wake of The Fall.

True to his word, Veruso ensured that his people lived "with eyes open". The ancient Vaalish centres of learning and power were sealed and quarantined. Thaumaturgy was outlawed and those who stained themselves with Vaalish folly were burned for their sin. The Tears of the Maji, too dangerous to be destroyed, were gathered up, taken to Highgate, and buried within the bowels of the mountains. The caverns there were sealed and forgotten.

A supreme effort to erase the past. A primitive reaction born of primitive times, in the opinion of this humble historian.

--- The Ancients, Book 6: Book 6: Imperialus Conceptus

Imperialus Conceptus, the founding of the Eternal Empire, occurred 400 years after the fall of the Vaal[29].

Light of Phrecia

Five years after his father's death, Emperor Caspiro, too, was dead. Although accounts of the exact details differ, one clear fact is agreed upon. Caspiro was dismembered by something referred to simply as a dark being.

It was General Alano Phrecia who avenged the Emepror's death and who triumphed in driving away the pervasive darkness enveloping what would become the imperial heartlands. Though it seems fanciful to contemplate a portion of our Empire cast into perpetual night, Azmerian writers of the time are unified in their depiction. Perhaps it was caused by peculiar weather patterns or some thaumaturgical residue of The Fall. On this matter, this humble historian is left in the uncomfortable state of pure conjecture.

On the first Sacrato of Lurici, 35 I.C., Alano himself wrote that "our legions drove the dark being deep into the recesses of its lair and sealed it away for eternity". Having returned the gaze of Solaris to those lands stretching from the foot of the Mantle to the Axiom Ranges, Alano Phrecia returned to Sarn. In the absence of a clear Veruso succession, Alano was crowned emperor and the Imperial heartlands were named in his honour.

With the former realm of the Vaal thus tamed and settled by our Azmerian ancestors, the Eternal Empire saw a long period of peace and prosperity under an unbroken line of Phrecia emperors.

"To care for this Empire with eyes open." - A traditional vow made by the High Templar upon the coronation of an Eternal Emperor.

--- The Ancients, Book 7: Light of Phrecia

Maligaro

At some point in the Empire's history, there was a thaumaturgist named Maligaro (his equipment and laboratory is found in the Chamber of Sins, whose architecture resembles Lunaris Temple in Sarn). Maligaro's research centred on virtue gems and how their qualities might be transferred to humans. His main technique was to inject the "essence" of a gem via a device called Maligaro's Spike[30] although it never seemed to work terribly well[31]. Apart from the Spike, Maligaro created elementals[32] and a mysterious darkness that covered the land[33] At the end of his life he created the Baleful Gem—either a synthetic virtue gem, or a corrupted one—for an unknown purpose[34].

The Peak

We don't know how much land the Empire covered before its sudden demise, but we do know it was divided at least into the Outer Empire (the southern coast from The Prisoner's Gate down past Lioneye's Watch) and the Inner Empire (everything north and inland of Prisoner's Gate)[35]. The Empire's capital at that time was Sarn[36], and despite the centuries of neglect, the remaining architecture suggests the Empire was fairly prosperous. The emperor at the time was Chitus, although we don't know much about him beyond his ignorance of the forces that would destroy him[37]. While the Empire's citizens were Azmeri, the slaves were of other races, including Ezomytes, Maraketh and Karui[38]. It seems these other races were not native to Wraeclast, or at least not the part of Wraeclast covered by the Empire[39][40], but were separate contemporary civilisations.

At the time, the leading thaumaturgist was Malachai. Like Maligaro he experimented with virtue gems, but unlike Maligaro he just surgically implanted them into his test subjects[41], and his efforts met with far more success than Maligaro's[42]. Malachai had slaves mining virtue gems and Thaumetic Sulphite[43]and a supply of test subjects from the emperor[44]. The results of this surgical process were known as Gemlings. Emperor Chitus said "These glorious gems have brought us within spitting distance of godhood"[45], and the Empire's defences included at least one Gemling legion[46].

Malachai's most famous creation, however, was known as the Gemling Queen. She was originally a "favourite" of Emperor Chitus[47] named Dialla, but annoyed him[48] and was given to Malachai to experiment on[49]. She fell in love with him[50] and he reshaped her[51] into a most impressive Gemling[52].

The Purity Rebellion (1333 - 1st Sacrato of Phreci 1334)

Righteous and devoted to both faith and country, High Templar Voll struck little hardship in gathering others to his godly cause; Sarn's own Lord Mayor Ondar and Victario, the People's Poet; Archbishop Geofri of Phrecia; Governor Kastov of Stridevolf; and Commander Adus of Highgate. Together, these Warriors of Purity forged an uprising against the Gemling thaumatocracy that Voll hoped would "Snatch this empire from the claws of devilry and return it to humanity."

--- The Purity Chronicles, Book 1: Embers of Insurrection

Meanwhile, outside the Imperial Court and thaumaturgists' laboratories, discontent grew. A movement named the Purity Rebellion sought to overthrow Emperor Chitus and destroy the thaumaturgists and their Gemlings[53]. The Purity Rebellion was led by

  • High Templar Voll, the overall leader.
  • Victario, the People's Poet.
  • Lord Mayor Ondar of Sarn.
  • Archbishop Geofri of Phrecia.
  • Governor Kastov of Stridevolf.
  • Commander Adus of Highgate.

The Purity Rebellion sought help in many places:

  • Victario raised support among the common citizens of the Empire[54]
  • Victario sought help from Thane Rigwald of Ezomyr, perhaps a vassal nation[55].
  • Voll sought help from King Kaom of the Karui[56]
  • Voll also sought help from Sekhema Deshret of the Maraketh[57].

The Ezomytes (3rd Fiero of Dirivi 1333)

High Templar Voll had Victario entreat Thane Rigwald of Ezomyr, knowing that a poet would fare far better than any politician at rousing the romantic Ezomytes to rebellion. Stirred by Victario's impassioned words, Rigwald mustered his blood-bound clans, and on the 3rd Fiero of Dirivi 1333 IC, took to the fields of Glarryn in open rebellion against Governor Gaius Sentari.

Such was the colourful splendour of a thousand tartans and banners that the Ezomyte uprising became known as "The Bloody Flowers Rebellion". Though Sentari's Gemling legionnaires skew three Ezomytes for every one of their own fallen, the Bloody Flowers won the day through sheer fury-driven courage.

Governor Sentari fled to Sarn, only to return in Astrali with reinforcements drawn from the capital, Vastiri, and southern garrisons. Little did Sentari know that, by so weakening those forces, he was playing right in to Voll's hands.

---The Purity Chronicles, Book 2: Bloody Flowers

It is possible that the Battle of the Bridge was part of this campaign[58].

The Karui

Defeat of Marcus Lioneye

Meanwhile, in the Outer Empire, King Kaom and a Karui war host[59] landed on the The Coast[60] They attacked and defeated Marcus Lioneye's Eternal Legion, stationed at Lioneye's Watch[61].

In a man-to-man fight on open ground, a Gemling Legion would have slaughtered Kaom's Karui warriors like so many pigs in a pen. But Kaom had no intention of engaging Lioneye in a fair fight. By absorbing some heavy losses and feigning a chaotic retreat, Kaom drew Marceus into ordering his Gemlings to abandon their tower shields so that they might pursue and rout the fleeing Karui.

It was not out of recklessness that Lioneye plucked such a decision, but from the experience-born confidence that the Karui did not have archers. Traditionally, Karui warriors are forbidden from using projectile weapons of any kind. What Lioneye understandably overlooked was that this tavukai (sacred prohibition) did not extend to women. At her uncle's behest, Hyrri had traveled to Thebrus and studied archery with Voll's finest military tutors. When the legionnaires shed protection in favor of mobility, Hyrri and her bow-women broke cover and rained death upon the Gemlings from the cliffs above.

A valiant Marceus Lioneye gathered his surviving legionnaires for a final stand within the walls of Lioneye's Watch. Kaom honored his bravery by wearing Marceus bejeweled head upon his belt from that day on.

Having secured a safe harbour for landing reinforcements, Kaom continued his conquest of the coast, slaughtering the Eternal citizens and clearing the way for the first ever settlement of Karui on the Wraeclastian mainland.

---The Purity Rebellion, Book 3: Fall of a Jade Axe

Shavronne and Brutus

The Empire's second line of defence was a thaumaturgist named Shavronne, from a group of people or a location known as Umbra[62]. When she realised Lioneye would fall to Kaom, Shavronne raced to the next defensible structure up the coast, Axiom Prison[63]. She tricked or convinced the warden, Brutus[64], into allowing her to make him into a super-human monster capable of defeating the Karui[65]. Brutus was never defeated by the Karui, although we don't know if they ever bothered attacking Axiom Prison. Although Karui carvings are found beyond Axiom Prison in the Coves, they might not have travelled there via Axiom; since the Karui possessed canoe technology[66] they may have just travelled by sea up the coast.

Prisoner's Gate

Shavronne erected a thaumaturgical barrier as a third line of defence against the Karui[67], in the pass between Prisoner's Gate and the Western Forest. Whether they tried to break through it and failed, or whether they never bothered trying, the Karui ceased their advance when they reached Siren's Song Cove[68].

Corruption of the Karui

After their victory, the Karui settled on the coast[69]. However, their good fortune was be short-lived, as they were corrupted by the Cataclysm[70], resulting in social unrest[71], raising of undead[72], and twisting of the wildlife[73].

Kaom himself was eventually corrupted, likely meeting his end in Merveil's Lair[74]. His niece Hyrri led the remaining five hundred Karui families back to the Karui homeland of Ngamakanui[75].

The Maraketh (3rd Galvano of Vitali 1333 IC)

In return for her military support in the rebellion, Voll promised Sekhema Deshret the return of the Maraketh grazing lands stolen during the imperial conquest of the Vastiri Plains. The Red Sekhema agreed on one condition, that she might have Hector Titucius' skin with which to fashion a Rhoa saddle.

To this end, Voll and Deshret engineered a trap for General Titucius and his Vastiri Legion. The Maraketh had long been able to predict the comings and goings of the vast and vicious dust storms that constantly plague the plains. Deshret located one such fledgling maelstrom within a day's march of Titucius' camp. For his part, Voll identified a number of imperial spies amongst the Maraketh and fed them false information regarding a potential tribal uprising. Taking the bait, Titucius and his Gemling legion surround the supplied location, thus placing himself squarely in the path of Deshret's dust storm.

On the third Galvano of Vitali 1333 IC, the tempest descended upon Titucius' legion with blinding, deafening ferocity. Deshret's akhara, born and raised in dust and wind, swept through the legion, harvesting it like a field of ripe corn. Once storm and Maraketh fury had abated, the Vastiri Legion existed only as a multitude of dust-cloaked mounds. The Red Sekhema claimed her prize and it is said that there is no more comfortable saddle in all of Vastiri than Deshret's.

--- The Purity Chronicles, Book 4: The Red Sekhema's Saddle

The Siege of Sarn (last day of Divini 1334 IC - 1st Sacrato of Phreci)

On the last day of Divini 1334 IC, High Templar Voll laid siege to Sarn. Commander Adus of Highgate soon joined him, bringing his legion and a horde of miners to bolster the Army of Purity's ranks. Thus surounded, Emperor Chitus rallied his Gemlings for a desperate defence of the capital. His efforts were cut short by Lord Mayor Ondar who, on the 2nd Kaso of Derivi, stabbed Chitus to death on the steps of the Scepter of God.

With Victario's help, Ondar was able to flee through the sewers and escape to Voll's encampment. But Ondar's term as the Hero of Purity was a short one. Two weeks later he was found by Victario's men in the Sarn sewers, seated and cross-legged, with his severed head in his lap. It was later discovered that the Perandus family had hired Coralito of the Silent Brotherhood to pluck Ondar from Voll's camp and deliver their vengeance for Chitus' murder.

Yet despite their desperate efforts, Chitus' mourners were unable to save their city. Faced with Victario's uprisings in the Slums, Docks, and Warehouse districts, and constant attacks from without, Lord Cadiro Perandus met with Voll on the 1st Sacrato of Phreci and offered Sarn's unconditional surrender.

Voll and his Army of Purity marched through the gates of the capital and less than a week later Voll of Thebrus was crowned Emperor.

--- The Purity Chronicles, Book 4: The Emperor is Dead. Long Live the Emperor.

The Reign of Voll (2nd Sacrato of Phreci 1334 - c. 1339)

"He soared to power on the smoke of burning witches". So the surviving Gemlings whispered of Voll of Thebrus, as he donned the Imperial crown on the 2nd Sacrato of Phreci, 1334 IC. But in truth, he was never the sort of man to set a girl alight for merely reading a palm or remedying a bout of the clap.

--- The Purity Chronicles, Book 1: Embers of Insurrection

We don't know whether the Rebellion itself fatally wounded the Empire or just injured it, but under Voll's leadership it declined rapidly[76].

The Rapture Device (1336 IC)

Voll condemned Malachai to burn before the doors of his Solaris, but it seems that Malachai's promises have saved him from the pyre. "An end to thaumaturgy," he claims. A fancy that our Emperor is willing to humor.

For weeks now, Malachai has been consigned to the Solaris, forging a mechanism that will purge Wraeclast of its otherworldly vices. Today, the first Fiero of Eterni 1336 IC, Malachai and his Gemling Queen gripped each a corner of a silken mantle and unveiled his Rapture Device. Like a pit of copper snakes it writhes before the eyes. Whether it is a miracle or a monstrosity, none but Malachai can say. Yet tomorrow Voll shall lead the Highgate Legion home, conveying Malachai, Lady Dialla, and this bewildering apparatus north.

North, from whence the first Gems came. From whence the nightmare of Chitus' thaumatocracy was born.

It is in Highgate that our Emperor Voll will finish what he started. He will burn Chitus' empire from history and raise up a fresh and pure theocracy from the ashes of arrogance and corruption. God be with you, Voll of Thebrus, and with us all.

--- The Purity Chronicles, Book 6: The Rapture Device

The Cataclysm (c. 1339)

Voll's reign lasted about five years [77]. Despite the decline of the Empire after the Rebellion, it was finally killed by a separate event called the "cataclysm"[78]. This cataclysm could not have been the Rebellion, for several reasons:

  • Eramir says the Azmeri's "history" and "identity" was destroyed by the cataclysm, but the Empire was still standing (shaky and infirm but standing, Emperor and all) after the Rebellion, and it seems unlikely the Azmeri could have forgotten their identity while the Empire was still nominally alive.
  • The Karui participated in the Rebellion, and after they took control of the southern coast, they settled there it quite happily[79]. It wasn't until later that the Karui recorded "Black storms descend on us from the north" (that is, from the Inner Empire and Sarn) and later still "The earth of Wraeclast rejects the dead." The Karui settlement must have occurred between the Rebellion and the event that cursed Wraeclast.

Very little is known about exactly what happened; as Clarissa points out[80], no news of the Empire reached Oriath until after the cataclysm was over and its effects drove the Karui out of Wraeclast. So what was this cataclysm that finally put an end to the Empire, and presumably cursed the Gemlings and raised the dead?

Hargan says: "Voll's was the shortest reign of any Eternal Emperor, about five years. The Twist saw to that." The only other mention of the Twist is when Lady Dialla says "The cockroaches will come again. They want the Twist." Apparently, the Twist is a device or artifact, and it exists (or the Ebony Legion believe it exists) somewhere in Solaris Temple under the protection of Lady Dialla, or perhaps even on her person.

It's possible that Lady Dialla picked the Twist out of the wreckage of Sarn years after the cataclysm occurred, and moved it to her sanctuary in Solaris Temple for safe-keeping, but there are reasons to suspect she was directly involved in the cataclysm itself:

  • The Gemling Queen is the only Gemling known to have escaped becoming Undying.
  • At one point, Grigor says: "Then they'll have the Gemling Queen, a living embodiment of the cataclysm."
  • Lady Dialla herself implies that at one point she had to choose between the Empire's survival and her own: "Malachai begged: for him, for the Empire. I chose me... selfish me. The Empire died, and I live. I live, and live, and live, and live."

This raises further questions: Lady Dialla says of Malachai "He gave me gems, divine jewels for his Gemling Queen." and describes her spine as a "Pretty spine, bejeweled and bountiful." Since this is Malachai we're talking about, these are presumably Virtue Gems rather than mere jewellery. Most Gemlings seem to have received only a single Gem, and yet from context Lady Dialla received many, so Malachai must have intended her for some purpose greater than the average Gemling. If this did indeed occur after the Purity Rebellion with the Empire in disarray, perhaps he intended to use her to restore the Empire much as Shavronne intended Brutus to defend it.

Oriath

Oriath is a small island off the south-east coast of Wraeclast[81]. We don't know when Oriath was first colonised, but it seems to have been well-established and prosperous at the time of the Empire's fall[82] so it must have been at least settled and under construction during the Empire's peak. In the Phrecian Forest in the Inner Empire is the Fellshrine, the ruins of an old Templar cathedral[83], so the Templars have a long-standing link to Wraeclast, and obviously High Templar Voll had an interest in the Empire. Presumably people from the Empire colonised Oriath and brought their religion along, and were stranded when the Empire crumbled.

The capital of Oriath is Theopolis[84], and contains at least historical archives[85], duelling arenas[86], and the headquarters of the Ebony Legion[87]. It also contains the Court of Divine Temperance[88], presided over by "the High Templar"[89] (currently Dominus), and many of the crimes that Court prosecutes are things like "Theosophical Pride", "Public Heresy" and "resisting Templar authority", so it seems fairly likely that Oriath is some kind of theocracy run by the Templars. Even the name "Theopolis" suggests religious devotion[90].

Modern Times (c. 1600 IC)[91]

In the modern age, Wraeclast bears no civilisation[92], just a few disorganised descendants of the Empire[93] and undead[94]. It also bears a number of people from Oriath. Some were shipwrecked[95], but many were exiled for crimes[96] minor[97] or major[98].

The current High Templar is a man named Dominus[99], who controls the Ebony Legion[100] as well as the Templars. He recently acquired an interest in the history of the Empire[101]. Dominus works in a laboratory at the top of the tower known as the Sceptre of God[102], but his assistants General[103] Gravicius[104] and Piety[105] gather information and resources.

Gravicius set up a temporary barracks in Sarn, near Lunaris Temple, and seems to be responsible for seeking out the artifact known as the Twist[106] and perhaps the Ribbon Spool[107]. Piety was originally named Vinia[108], and worked as a thaumaturgist and prostitute[109] in Theopolis. Currently she is more of an archaeologist, roaming Wraeclast investigating the works and techinques of the Empire's most famous thaumaturgists including Shavronne[110][111] and Maligaro[112], as well as trying to reproduce their experimental results for herself. Like Malachai, she implants Virtue Gems surgically[113], although judging by the detritus in the lowest floor of Lunaris Temple, she has not yet reached Malachai's level of skill.

See also

References

  1. Eramir: "a culture I've seen mentioned here and there in some of the most antique of texts"
  2. Eramir: "These artifacts, and that ancient gateway to the northwest... crafted by the same hands, I'd venture. Vaal hands."
  3. Helena: "A man-crafted mountain of four sheer sides? Sounds like a pyramid. That's Vaal architecture."
  4. Rebuke of the Vaal: "Though the Vaal revered peace, it would have been suicide for any culture to rouse them to war." - Icius Perandus, Scholar to the Empire
  5. Rathpith Globe: "The Vaal emptied their slaves of beating hearts, and left a mountain of twitching dead."
  6. Bloodseeker: ""For the life of the flesh will always be in the blood." - Atalui, Vaal Priestess
  7. Eramir: "It is the Vaal who began the use of virtue gems, well before our imperial ancestors."
  8. Library book Raising the Azmeri:Yet while the Vaal were generous with their knowledge and guidance in many areas, there is one subject upon which they were notably silent; the Tears of Maji, now known as Virtue Gems.
  9. One of the Golden Page flavour texts reads: '"The Vaal were even more steeped in gem culture than our Emperor and his 'Gemlings'. It's an obsession as old as civilization itself." - Icius Perandus'
  10. Siosa: "They carried their virtue gems to... "Doryani's bed"... no, that's not quite right. Ah yes, Doryani's cradle. The historian finishes that it was a price they needed to pay to ensure a Vaalish future."
  11. The Vaults of Atziri map
  12. Siosa: "Now here's a portentous line: 'She drenches her altars with the blood of those deranged enough to question her vision'
  13. Siosa: "Malachai would never have risen so far without the patronage of an emperor like Chitus. It would appear that Doryani and Queen Atziri shared a similar relationship."
  14. Siosa: "It was said of the beautiful Atziri that she "wished to see her likeness reflected in the still waters of history.". Chitus was no less self-impressed. Of all the Sins, Vanity is the most hideous."
  15. Siosa: "I suppose every civilization has its Doryani... its Malachai. Men of divine talent and demented ambition. Without them, history would be a far less 'interesting' place."
  16. Library book Zerphi the Murder
  17. Atziri's Mirror: "As long as I see death in my mirror, so will Wraeclast." - Atziri, Queen of the Vaal
  18. Waterfall Cave: "Two thousand years of regret"
  19. One of the Golden Page flavour texts reads: '"A communion... but with what? By all accounts, it wasn't God that the Vaal were trying to reach." - Icius Perandus'
  20. Siosa: "The next piece is a real eye-crosser, but I believe it refers to a 'communion', something to do with the harvest moon? Again, Doryani seems at the heart of it."
  21. Siosa: "Our queen is dead. Doryani is dead. So many have fallen. So many have changed."
  22. Siosa: "I can make out the words "sleep", "nightmare", and... "the Beast", whatever that may be. Our historian finishes with: We have succeeded where our forebears have not. We have failed ourselves"
  23. Siosa: "I need not imagine the fall of the Vaal. I saw the nightmare with my own eyes."
  24. Eramir: "The Azmeri. The culture that descended from the Azmerian Mountains and founded the Eternal Empire, so long ago."
  25. Math: Imperialus Conceptus happened 400 years after the Vaal fell (see later notes). According to Raising the Azmeri, "the first Vaal refugees came knocking five hundred years" after the Azmeri first encountered the Vaal.
  26. Library book Raising the Azmeri: Vaal civilisation held the hand of the Azmeri as they grew from a primitive tribal existence into a cohesive culture of settlement and agriculture
  27. Library book Raising the Azmeri: Though they described the Vaal as having flesh adorned with glittering crystals, our Azmerian ancestors were never privy to the gems’ potential or powers.
  28. Library book The Fall: "Three thousand one hundred and twenty-six: the number of Vaal refugees who came to live with and eventually become absorbed into the Azmerian people."
  29. Library book Last of the Vaal Queens: "Only one thing can be said for certain of Atziri; she was the last Queen of the Vaal. The trail of history ends during her reign, some four hundred years preceding the Imperialus Conceptus."
  30. Helena: "The thaumaturgist Maligaro used the Spike to inject the essence of the virtue gems into living subjects."
  31. Helena: "Maligaro injected Raulo with both immortality and deformity in equal measure."
  32. Helena: "Maligaro and his kind warped the very earth and water with thaumaturgy. The masters are long gone, but those poor golems must continue to obey their instructions."
  33. Helena: "This twisting of our surroundings, it's happened before. Maligaro conjured up a creature of the purest, darkest thaumaturgy."
  34. Helena: "Maligaro was mortally ill, degenerating in body and mind. It was in this state that he created the Baleful Gem. His final words are burned into my mind. 'This gem is my salvation. Today I join Fidelitas.'"
  35. Piety's letter to Arteri at the pass from Prisoner's Gate to the Western Forest: "This is the only pass between the Inner and Outer Empire."
  36. http://www.pathofexile.com/areas — The text under "Act III - The City of Sarn" describes it as "the fallen capital of the Eternal Empire"
  37. Chitus' Apex: "It takes true strength to hold power, and my grip grows tighter by the day." - Emperor Chitus
  38. Lady Dialla: "Malachai had his slaves mine it, carry it from northern mountains to the refinery by the docks. Ezomytes, Maraketh, Karui... it killed them all."
  39. Grigor says "Only the Isles of Skothe were spared. Once, a backwater of my proud civilisation, now... all that remains of the Ezomytes." so apparently the Ezomytes had a separate civilisation to the Empire.
  40. The Act 1 map shows the "Karui Archipelago" in the south-west, off the coast of Wraeclast.
  41. Grigor: "...that's what [Piety] told me when she opened me up and buried a Virtue Gem in my entrails. Malachai did the same in the name of the Emperor, centuries ago."
  42. Lady Dialla describes "beautiful and arrogant Gemlings", a very different result to Maligaro's injections of "immortality and deformity".
  43. Lady Dialla: "Thaumetic Sulphite. [...] Malachai had his slaves mine it..."
  44. Lady Dialla: "Those who did not... were given to his thaumaturgists."
  45. As quoted by Clarissa
  46. Karui stone: "Lioneye's Gemlings met us with shining metal and bold words. Hyrri's arrows withered their pride. Kaom's axes silenced their despair."
  47. Lady Dialla: "I was the emperor's favourite, for a time."
  48. Lady Dialla: "I talked too much, asked too many difficult questions."
  49. Lady Dialla: "I was gifted to Malachai."
  50. Grigor: "The Gemling Queen gave her heart / And body / To the King of Shades"
  51. Lady Dialla: "He gave me gems, divine jewels for his Gemling Queen."
  52. Lady Dialla: "Malachai liked spines. Liked my spine. Pretty spine, bejeweled and bountiful. Enough to make an empire weep."
  53. Clarissa: 'The High Templar at the time, Voll of Thebrus, thought [Gemlings] were a perversion. He wanted the Empire made pure, “cleansed of the stain of thaumaturgy”.'
  54. See the "Purity Rebellion" symbol (a yellow V on a ragged red shape) scrawled in the Sarn Slums, but not the more aristocratic areas like the Marketplace, Battlefront or Barracks.
  55. Grigor: "He wrote many entreaties to the Ezomytes, begging our assistance in helping High Templar Voll..."
  56. Maramoa: "Voll of Thebrus bent his knee to my ancestor, King Kaom, and promised freedom in return for war."
  57. Brightbeak: "I know how to say 'faster' and 'attack' in Karui, Marak and Ezo." - Voll of Thebrus"
  58. Voll's Devotion: “We are the soldiers of Faith, armoured in devotion. Let the sinners come, for we—the Pure—shall endure!” —Voll of Thebrus, at the Battle of the Bridge (possibly the Broken Bridge seen in Act 2)
  59. Karui stone: "At his back, the greatest war host in Karui history..."
  60. The Coast Weathered Carving: "Kaom's canoe struck this sand with the force of destiny."
  61. Bestel: "Marceus commanded the southernmost of the Eternal Legions, here at Lioneye's Watch."
  62. Eramir: "I've read about Shavronne of Umbra...", Helena: "God help us if [Piety's] able to replicate the Umbra's work." and the description of Shavronne's Revelation is attributed to "Kadavrus, Surgeon to the Umbra"
  63. Shavronne's Pace: "Shavronne raced to Brutus' side, her last hope against the Karui tide."
  64. Shavronne's Revelation: "Shavronne held Sanity in her right hand and Revelation in her left. Brutus chose the left hand."
  65. Shavronne's Diary: "The Warden will serve as our saviour. May he crush the Karui into the sand with the mighty fists I shall gift to..."
  66. Maramoa: "You strike the waikoama, the canoe, spilling a feast of men into the water."
  67. Shavronne's Diary: "Should the need arise we shall retreat through Prisoner's Gate, raising my barricade behind us."
  68. Maramoa: "Kaom took Lord Lioneye's head and the southern coast all the way to the Siren's Cove." The Act 1 map does not mention "Siren's Cove" but it does label the waypoint in Cavern of Wrath as "Siren's Song Cove", which is probably what Maramoa meant.
  69. Weathered Carving, Tidal Island: "Our warriors build homes for our families. Our families till the earth, wish the waters, fill the air with with song."
  70. Siosa: "A tempest raged down from the mountains...I saw madness in my colleagues' eyes. Watched as the most rational men in the Empire jabbered, slavered, and slaughtered each other"
  71. Weathered Carving, Mud Flats: "A Spirit that creeps through our dreams, weaves tales of misdeed around our resting minds. We try to not listen. We try to remember ourselves. Some of us forget."
  72. Weathered Carving, The Ledge: "The black spirit of storm and dream now reaches into the ground and rises up our slain imperial foes. It leads the fallen from their graves and drives them to fight us beyond the end, rotted tooth and jagged nail. Our own Remembered have joined their cursed ranks."
  73. The black spirit infects living flesh and bone. The animals suffered first. Their bodies changed. Their eyes filled with a hatred of mankind that is beyond instinct.
  74. Weathered Carving, The Coves: Kaom is gone. Our King has taken our finest five hundred warriors and descended into the depths of Wraeclast.
  75. Weathered Carving, The Coves: "Hyrri has made ready her canoes. We will take those that are left, five hundred forgotten families, and carry them back to their true homes. Back to Ngamakanui".
  76. Voll's Protector: "Although a great leader during the war, Voll proved disastrous in times of peace."
  77. Hargan: "Voll's was the shortest reign of any Eternal Emperor, about five years."
  78. Eramir: "The culture that [...] founded the Eternal Empire, so long ago. [...] Their history, identity... all but destroyed in the cataclysm."
  79. Karui stone: "Our families till the earth, fish the waters, fill the air with song."
  80. Clarissa: "After the Purity Rebellion, the Kingdom of Kaom blockaded Oriath, preventing any trade or correspondence with the mainland."
  81. The Act 1 map shows the island of Oriath directly south of The Coves
  82. Clarissa: "On the fall of the Empire, the historians are deathly silent. After the Purity Rebellion, the Kingdom of Kaom blockaded Oriath, preventing any trade or correspondence with the mainland." Apparently at the time of the Purity Rebellion, Oriath was developed enough to be reliably recording history and to want to trade with the Eternal Empire.
  83. Eramir: "The Fellshrine is a shadow of what was once good in Wraeclast. That sigil etched into its stones? It's a Descry, from when the Templar truly stood for something."
  84. The Act 1 map shows a crown above the word 'Theopolis' on the island of Oriath
  85. Eramir: "Stumbled across sketches in the Theopolis archives, a piece of Vaal engineering, pyramidal in architecture."
  86. Hargan to the Duellist: "Now you're a familiar face! A face that cost me a good deal of coin at arenas in Theopolis."
  87. Hargan: "Had to smuggle a fellow out of Theopolis once. Got a bit too friendly with the Gravicius' wife, he did." Gravicius seems to be the head of the Ebony Legion, and it seems likely that his wife would be near him.
  88. Every Letter of Exile begins "Missive of Sentence, Court of Divine Temperance, Theopolis"
  89. Every Letter of Exile ends "By the Divine Authority of the High Templar"
  90. From the Greek "theos" meaning God, and "polis" meaning city.
  91. The dates on Letters of Exile range fram "1597 IC" to "1599 IC". We might assume they are relatively recent.
  92. Nessa: "Karui savagery is nothing when compared to the ferocity that is Wraeclast."
  93. Tarkleigh: "The scavengers? Orphans of the Eternal Empire who've forgotten what it's like to be civilised."
  94. Tarkleigh: "...sooner or later corpses wake up and go looking for breakfast."
  95. Nessa: "Tarkleigh pulled Bestel from some hideaway in the wreckage."
  96. Letters of Exile: "God has charged me with your redemption. You are hereby Exiled to Wraeclast where, it is hoped, you shall come to repent your Sins, and make your peace with your beloved Father."
  97. Letter of Exile for Carling of Mirfield: "Civil Envy: One count of defaming a Church Official"
  98. The Letter of Exile for Kraityn of Theopolis lists 142 offences, including "One count of Matricide for Pecuniary Gain"
  99. Every Letter of Exile ends "the High Templar, Dominus"
  100. Tarkleigh: "We exiles have no history. Dominus took it from us the moment his Blackguards dumped us in the water out there."
  101. Maramoa: "Dominus' Ebony Legion arrived from Oriath a couple of full moons ago."
  102. Grigor: "It's the one key to the Sceptre of God [...] Dominus accessed his laboratory at the summit of the tower via a pulley system rigged to the outside wall."
  103. Maramoa: "General Gravicius demands absolute obedience from his Blackguards..."
  104. Hargan: "Gravicius is the mailed and bloodied right hand of Dominus."
  105. Grigor: "Unfortunately, Piety was simply a puppet of a greater force. You've cut the strings but the master remains: Dominus."
  106. Lady Dialla: "The cockroaches will come again. They want the Twist. That cockroach emperor... the other bugs shout his name. Gravicius."
  107. Lady Dialla says "The Ribbons' Spool is taken. Stolen. The black ones want them, my Ribbons. Want to wrap the city in black Ribbons." However, it's possible that she's mistaken and the Ebony Legion don't care about the Spool itself, so much as they just want to stop Lady Dialla from creating new Ribbons to replace the ones they've destroyed.
  108. Clarissa: "...the tie between Vinia and I endures. That was Piety's real name back in Theopolis..."
  109. Clarissa: "Vinia sold her thaumaturgy in the day, her body at night."
  110. Piety: "An exile, here? A shame the Warden won't leave anything for me to examine."
  111. Piety: "Find your own way inland, exile!"
  112. Helena: "To damnation with Piety! She was after one of Maligaro's creations, the Baleful Gem."
  113. Grigor: "Piety's a genius sculpting mere human clay into “divine” Gemlings. At least, that's what she told me when she opened me up and buried a Virtue Gem in my entrails."