Over the past year since the release of Guild Wars and even during its Beta, me and a number of others have conducted research to uncover the lost languages, runes, glyphs and scripts for GuildWars. This is still an ongoing project. For those who have yet to see what was originally found, I will give you the research thus far. We are still seeking images and other sightings of runes. Please send anything that may be of use to firstname.lastname@example.org
I am interested in any new runic findings in the new areas, IE Sorrow's Furnace etc or anything that has been release over the past months.
[color=blue]Updates in Edition[/color]
1. Revealing Charr/Mursaat connection
2. Uncovering connection with the Druids and Talmark Wilderness spires
3. **SPOILER** Earlier connection between White Mantle and Mursaat established prior to storyline.
4. Establishing Nation and Group flags and emblems.
5. Possible connection between Shining Blade and Cantha or Shining Blade Seafaring history.
6. Possible identification of Trade Guilds or Druid runes.
7. **SPOILER** Mursaat found to be behind the searing of Ascalon.
Unknown Alphabet and Rosetta Map:
As found by multiple people in the Guild Wars Community, banners displaying a map of the world were found during Beta. After a short while, the runes on them were translated into a near complete alphabet. This alphabet has been thought as an ancient or old alphabet of the Orr, but this is still under scrutiny. As the Orr existed during the previous "GuildWar" before the current civilizations of Kryta and Ascalon existed, these runes may be some of the last evidence of their existence. You do not see the runes in any Ascalon, Kryta, Crystal Desert, or Maguuma areas, other then on these maps. Right now you can find them by the bridge in the Ember Light Camp in the Ring of Fire. While this alphabet is not complete, as we are still missing about 6 letters, it is complete enough to translate the whole map. This lead us to the discovery of the Crystal Desert before any official release of its existence was made during beta. We finally had this proved when ArenaNet released the Crystal Desert after GuildWars went live. It was also noted that the runes used for these were a mixture of the Norwegian - Swedish, Fulthark, and Gothic style Runes. Although the majority it would seem were custom made by ArenaNet all giving different alphanumeric meanings then those found in the latter civilizations.
How was the alphabet translated?
I wont go over how I translated ad figured out all the runes and glyphs in the research, be will only concentrate on the Tyrian Alphabet itself as these findings is what got you started on this road.
The idea of an obscure runic language came to me when Banegrivm, Guild Leader of the 1st Fist of Light posted a "strange map" he had found a screen shot of that was on sign up north of the "Wall". I took one look at it and realized that indeed they for the most part they were Runes. Not any obscurely created runes, but in fact resembled those used in Gothic, Fulthark, and Swedish-Norwegian runic alphabets, as the various I saw on the map included a mixture of all three. I did also find that the Devs may indeed have change a few, perhaps to make them unique.
The first thought that came to me was that they are using real world runes and the letters corresponding to them. At which point I began trying to translate the upper most set of runes which was believed to spell "Tyria". In the end of that process after combining a mixture of real life runes and their letters, I came to realize that in fact the runes are NOT using the same letters as used in real life. That in fact, the image of the runes were used, but the devs. designated their own letters to each rune.
With this new insight, and the knowledge and of what the locations were representing, I soon was able to translate and document those areas, ending with a at least 3 groups translated. Those being Ascalon, Tyria, Kryta. You can say, "Well ok, you think you know what an area is representing, then you assumed those runes were letters?" Well I backed and continue to prove that the translations were correct because of cross-comparison. The "y" in Tyria uses the same "y" rune in Kryta. The rune for "a" is used all in the right places for all three of those groupings. This lead to the discovery of the letters A, S, C, L, O, N, T, Y, I, and K. Soon after I was able to decipher the south central set of runes where we see the Shiverpeaks. But, this was a mistake by me, as I originally thought that the first set is Shiver and the second set below is Peaks. This uncovered the letters, P, V, and H. I wondered why the words were separated. It was until I got a screen shot originally taken and submitted by "Fina" was I able to get a clearer written set of runes. The SW area by Linea and Androgial was mentioned to have been either the Ring of Fire or Fire Isle. After some close translating I was finally able translate and find the right runes for Ring of Fire, which revealed the letters G, F, and E.
After some close observations I soon uncovered that my translation of "Shiver Peaks" was wrong. In fact, the first line DID spell out the complete Shiverpeaks, and surprise to me, as again the Alphabet proved itself, I translated _ o_ntns. Hmm, I wondered what that could mean. Then, out of the blue a realization came that hit me like a freight train. OF Course that is what it is, it was "mountns" This spelling does not include the ai when referring to the correct spelling of mountains, but it did give some insight as it revealed the letters M, O, and U.
Soon after I began my translations of the set of runes in the South East. I originally translated the runes to Try_ _a_ Desert. This left me at a standstill as those missing letters I could not see clearly. It was not until "Linitas" mentioned that the first set could even be Crystal, did it hit me that he was right. I had miss translated the first letter as a T and not C. It was found that location was the Crystal Desert, which just now as I was updating this article as I have been making changes, an blurb from the last Gaile Gray interview was submitted to me.
"The Crystal Desert is a nexus of powerful mystical energies. For centuries entire cultures have made pilgrimages to the burning sands in search of spiritual atonement. Their bones litter the dunes, a testament to the dangers of this inhospitable environment. The only other evidence of their existence is the hollow, wind-torn buildings of their temporary civilizations."
The one location that had bewildered me for the longest time was that set of runes to the West. Drytchnath and Androgial had mentioned that it could be Majesty's Rest or Maguuma Jungle. It was not until I realized those central two letters of the first set of runes was uu and not a c or v, did it come to me that the first letter of the second group wa s a J. A letter that had eluded any sort of translating. This revealed it to be Maguuma Jungle and the letters J, and a new rune for M and G.
This completed the entire translation of the Map. It also completed the alphabet, save the translations for B, X, W, Q, and Z. I have come to see that map as a "Rosetta Stone" of sorts for this ancient runic language.
That brings up another point, WHERE did this language come from, is it perhaps from a past fallen Kingdom?
There were a few more sets of rune found that were quite original. The runes found on the road signs were not of this unknown Alphabet. We also located runes on 4 obelisks located in the "Talmark Wilderness" just west of "The Black Curtain", which after some discussion, were soon thought to be a zodiac of some kind. It was originally thought the screen shot was taken in the Maguuma Desert, but I soon confirmed the location to not be that far West, but to be just west of the Temple of Ages.
We had also located what appear to be hieroglyphs on he walls of the Tomb of Primeval Kings which appear to be Egyptian, but were not able to get clear enough imaging to decipher them. These same hieroglyphs were recently found on the base of a Dragon Statue in the Crystal Desert.
The runes have been dubbed "Common" Runes until its creators are discovered.
This rune set has been found in a number of different locations.
1. Banner found among Charr camps depicting what looks like some sort of fierce toothed creature which could refer to Charr, or their leader, or something they worthship. These runes are found along both edges.
2. Banner found near the entrance to the Ascalon Arena gate and in the Nolani Academy which depicts the runes along each side with what looks to be a figure with four wings in the center.
3. Four obelisks in the Talmark Wilderness display a number of these runes. It has been thought that perhaps the obelisks there could be a druid shrine, circle, or belongs to some ancient culture. It is thought that perhaps these obelisks could in fact be Rosetta stones for the alphabet itself, as they include runes that are not on any of the others such as the |69 and a number of others. It has been considered that these obelisks are indeed Druid relics or spires.
4. There are pillars in the Ruins of Surmia staging area with a women’s face at the top and a single row of these runes down the center.
5. The statues in the staging area of the Tomb of Primeval Kings along each side of the entrance that have these runes at their base. Each statue has the same set of runes displayed.
6. These runes have also been found on pennanti seen in Bergen Hot Springs in the Kryta nation now.
Why do we find the same runes through out different cultures. So far they are being used by the Charr, Kryta, Ascalon, the Orr who are found in the Tombs, and whom ever built the Talmark obelisks.
Could they all be sharing a common ancestor, or writing system for specific needs?
Ultimately, what situation would cause 5 different cultures/civilizations to use the same set of runes for what ever reason they are used?
I have attempted to try and cipher them into an alphabet, but so far no success. There does not seem to be any logical correlation between the use of runes depicting letters. Of course the runes could symbolize images or concepts. But you also find the same runes in separate orientations. All of them but one of the runes change orientation in specific locations.
It has been stated that like real life languages the inhabitants of the Talmark area could have adopted a similar language as the Charr. But, I am not sure if ArenaNet would have gone that far, if in fact they have gone as far as all this actually meaning anything, which we all hope it does. So you must wonder, if they are separate, yet adopted languages, what language does the Talmark belong to? If they are the same language, which points to being Charr, does this mean the Charr once were found in the western lands of Kryta? It has also been suggested that this could be an adopted language of the serpent creatures of legend, later adopted by the Charr and the Talmark inhabitants.
Others suggest that perhaps these runs for to words or ideals rather then being letters.
Crystal Desert findings:
As we finally gained access to the Crystal Desert once Guild Wars had gone gold, we were introduced to 1 if not 2 separately new sets of runes/glyphs.
Crystal Desert Hieroglyphs
I have also made efforts in the translations of the Primeval King Hieroglyphs found on the walls, on the base of a dragon statue in the Crystal Desert, and various other locations. It has come to me that the alphabet is very similar to the Egyptians, but certain symbols were modified to give variations between them to. I have uncovered some of the alphabet from these inscriptions and was able to partially translate a stone submitted by oGgaming Moderator Eolan, thank you. Right now the translations are jumbled and no words can be found from them, it is still a great start in uncovering the hidden lore of Tyria.
Crystal Desert Hieroglyphic Alphabet:
It would seem that the transporters used to magically move from one transporter artifact to another have a ring of runes encircled which we believe to be the origin of the magic. It may seem as if they are a full set of runes all around, but in fact are 7 distinctly different runes, reversed at least 4 times as they encircle the portal area. These runes have yet to be seen anywhere else nor do they resemble any others.
There are another set of 5 glyphs found on multiple pillars/towers/obelisks through out the Crystal Desert that give sight of magical properties. Excitingly so, 3 of these glyphs are actually found within the portal area one must travel to prior to your Ascension Mirror Self battle. You must step on the correct sequence of the three glyphs. We have yet to locate any other locations for the remaining 2 glyphs anywhere else but those pullers.
Crystal Desert Signs
There are another set of runes found on signs before one zones to different areas in the desert. It would seem these signs perhaps would state the area your entering, but all the signs say the same thing, so that may not be possible. Perhaps they say "Zone" or "Enter" or something of the sort. It is currently unknown. Perhaps also these runes/carvings are of the language of the Forgotten Ones.
Eolen's Original Image:
Translation from Eolen's Original Image:
It still needs some work, and they may not be using the Egyptian translations and just the image, but it is a start.
"The Wilds" bonus rune set
There is a set of three glyphs found on three small stone pillars in the Wilds mission area. Each pillar has these same three glyphs. One depicts what looks like an image of a dragon, perhaps Glint or a Bone Dragon, or some other creature of legend. The origin of the other tree are unknown.