WARNING: This article may contain SPOILERS
The Unseen Ones Revealed: A Cultural Paleoanthropolgical Survery of the Mursaat
An analysis of the historical roots and culture of the Mursaat by Quintus Antonious with support from the Guild Wars Paleoanthropological Society
Introduction: Saul D'Alessio, the White Mantle, and the Unseen Ones
Saul D'Alessio was a drunk, a thief and a gambler. Generally the kind of person we would refer to as a lowlife. One day, he could amassed a debt he could not pay. In order to pay it, he turned to robbing merchants on the road from Bettletun to Shaemoor on the Divinity Coast. Unfortunetly for Saul, one of his victims was able to reconize him and he was exiled from the Kingdom of Kryta. He was blindfolded and was taken three full weeks into the heart of the Maguuma Jungle, where they left him, alone with no hope of suvival.
Saul wandered the Jungle for four days, surviving only on what he could forage, which wasn't much. Finally, on the fourth day, a raving, starving, half mad Saul stumbled into a city. It was a miraculous site; the architecture of the city was like none he had ever seen before. Towers, reaching as far skyward as he could see, and made of some manner of shining material. The inhabitants of this wonderous place were human-like in appearance but floated effortlessly, trailed by small, feathery wings, and clothed in gold.
Surely these creatures were deities, gods! Saul bowed before them; he had found his gods, and they had found their most devouted disciple.
Saul returned from the Jungle a new man. Bathed, clean, and with full healthy features, he bore little resemblence to the dirty gambler and thief that had been exiled from Kryta, and he wore pure white robes, hemmed in gold. No longer did he wish to gamble or drink, he was a completely new person, and immediately he began to spread his message of hope and Unseen gods to the people of Kryta.
At the same time this was happening, a dark cloud was decending from the North: The Charr. Ascalon had fallen in a blaze of fire, and now the Charr were invading Kryta. It seemed that the weak monarchy of the Krytan Kingdom would quickly be swept aside, just as Ascalon. But it was not to be. Saul, who had been travelling around Kryta for the past year gathering followers, promised salvation from the furry demons with the help of his mysterious gods. His faith was powerful, and in a time of no hope, people flocked to his cause. Thus began the White Mantle, known for the white and gold robes worn by the most faithful of the order. In a glorious sweep, Saul led his followers against the Charr, driving them back to where they came, and ushering in a new era of prosperity for the people of Kryta. Unfortunetly, Saul was killed when a group of Charr surrounded the small group of warriors he was leading into the Charr homeland. He died a hero's death, and the White Mantle lived on, worshipping the Unseen Ones who lead them to victory, and ruling Kryta in Saul's memory.
I: The Mursaat-What We Know
Through the course of the Flameseeker Prophecies, we are introduced to the Mursaat, who turn out to be the true creatures behind the Unseen Ones of the White Mantle.
What we know about the Mursaat is limited, but there are a few key facts that we find in the game.
1) They are the Unseen Ones, the gods of the White Mantle
2) They were first encountered by Saul D'alessio in the Maguuma Jungle
3) They have a city somewhere in the Maguuma Jungle
4) They are the keepers of the Door of Komalie and fear the completion of the Flameseeker Prophecies
5) They are the enemies of both the Titans and the Seers
6) The Charr burn effigies of them, possibly thinking them on of their 'Fire Gods'
7) A symbol of the Mursaat is the Eye of Janthir
8) They use the Eye of Janthir in order to determine the identities of the Chosen and then sacafice these Chosen on the Bloodstones in order to keep the soul batteries charged to keep the Door of Komalie closed
II: The Eye of Janthir
A symbol of the Unseen Ones was the powerful artifact known as the Eye of Janthir. No one really knows where this artifact came from, only that it was "given" to the White Mantle by their Unseen gods and is also a symbol of the Mursaat.
The Eye resides at the Divinity Coast town of Shaemoor, and is used to determine who the Chosen are. It is said that the eye can "see" the true magical potential in a person.
We find the Eye of Janthir represented in many places throughout the White Mantle as it is a key symbol in their religious dogma. We can surmise that this is because it is also an important symbol to their gods, the Unseen Ones, who are later revealed to be the Mursaat.
In the above image, we see the Eye of Janthir engraved on various stones and architectures in the town of Shaemoor where the Eye is located. Because the Eye is central in both the religion of the White Mantle and the purpose of the Mursaat (to keep the Door of Komalie closed) it becomes a pivitol symbol in the cultures of both people. In other words, where we find the Eye, we will either find the Mursaat, or the White Mantle.
III: The Temple of Balthazar in the Maguuma Jungle
The Temple of Balthazar in the the Maguuma Jungle is a place few have seen. It is deep enough in the Jungle region and well protected by hordes of creatures that few take the time and trouble to travel to it.
Recently, I accompanied field researcher and skilled explorer Malhavoc Adhamar into the Jungle on an expedition into the Jungle. I asked Malhavoc to assist me in an attempt to locate the City of the Unseen, the mythical location where Saul D'alessio first discovered the Mursaat, and subsquently lead to the founding of the White Mantle. What makes this city more than a myth is the fact that Saul somehow survived his exile in the Jungle, coming back in better shape than he left, and with clothing no one had ever seen before. Also, the apparence of the Mursaat later in the game confirms that the City must exist. Thus, I found myself accompaning possibly the best explorer I have ever met into the heart of the Jungle.
He led me down to an area I had only heard of, but never had the opportunity to see, the Temple of Balthazar. Intially, it was just a tourist stop before we went deeper into the Jungle in search of the City, however, what we found there amazed us.
The Eye of Janthir, in the Temple! Here we see depictions of the Eye engraved, quite literally, everywhere on the Temple. It's also interesting to note that the carving at the very crest of the Temple bears a striking resemblence to a Mursaat.
As this diagram shows, there are undeniable comparisons between the Eye of Janthir and cooresponding engravings at Shaemoor, and the depictions found in the Jungle. There can be no doubt, this is the Eye of Janthir.
Beyond the obvious engravings, the material that the Temple is constructed from has a highly polished sheen that luminested. This is very similar to the Jade Armors/Bows and the Mursaat structures found in the Ring of Fire.
Furthermore, the architectural design of the temple has strong comparisons to the design of the armor and robes worn by the White Mantle. If Saul D'Alessio found a city constructed in this manner with this type of architecture, it can be surmised that he mimicked, or was directed to mimic, this style to please the Unseen Ones.
In this diagram, I have marked the comparisons between the engraving pattern and styles to the engravings of the armor and robes worn by the White Mantle, as well as the design in which both are constructed. In addition to this, the engraving on the peak of the Temple is nearly identical to the engravings worn by the various Mantle armors.
Although I was not able to locate the City of the Unseen during this expedition, I have come to the conclusion, based on the previously presented evidence, that the Mursaat, or the people who would one day become the Mursaat, built this Temple in the Maguuma Jungle sometime in the past.
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12-02-2006, 20:44 #1
The Unseen Ones Revealed: A Cultural Survey of the Mursaat
Last edited by Quintus Antonius; 12-02-2006 at 20:48.
12-02-2006, 20:44 #2
IV: The History of the Mursaat
Who are the Mursaat; and more importantly, where did they come from?
We know that the Seers have been at war with the Mursaat for thousands of years, which means that the Mursaat have been around at least that long. But where were they, or who were they before this?
The Crystal Desert: an area steeped in mystery, where the ruins of at least four failed human civilizations lie in the sifting sands, surrounded by all manner of hostile creatures, and of course, the egnimatic Forgotten.
Did the Mursaat ever come to the Desert? Where they one of the lost races, or did they manage to Ascend?
In the Crystal Desert, specifically in the Dragon's Lair, there are animated suits of armor known as the Enchanted. Where did the Forgotten get the suits of armor they utilized in the creation of the Enchanted Armor/Bows? Were they left by a fallen civilization, and if so, whom?
Upon closer inspection, we find that the Enchanted look remarkably like the Mursaat, as marked by the numbers indicating the similarities in the armor styles. Furthermore, on both sets of armor, we find the Eye of Janthir. This further cooroborates the Eye of Janthir being a Mursaat symbol, and virtually confirms that the Enchanted Armor/Bows do or did belong to the Mursaat. Yet, there is no clear evidence of the Mursaat having a strong present day prescence in the Desert. Also, the armor is darker and shows signs of age, suggesting that it is not presently a tool of the Mursaat, but was left in the Desert.
Upon analysis of the Mursaat's physiology, we find that, as well as being human-like in shape, the Mursaat also have fair, hairless skin, and a nipple. Few families of animal have nipples, as milk feeding is a largely mammalian concept. This means that the Mursaat are mammals. Also, they are bipedal, having two arms and two legs. Their structure, apparent intelliect, abilitity to manipulate tools, and movement furthers the idea that the Mursaat were once human, or a cousin to the human species.
As previously stated, there is little doubt that the armor of the current Mursaat, and the Enchanted are made for the same race, however, the Enchanted armor walk, while the Mursaat float. In comparison to the Enchanted Armor, take note of the grieves (legs). The grieves of of the Enchanted, when put on a corporeal wearer, would not inhibit movement of the knee, allowing the person wearing the armor to walk on the ground. The grieves of the Mursaat armor extend up past their knees, meaning that, if the Mursaat were forced to walk on their feet, instead of hovering, they would not be able to bend their knees, if they have knees at all. This indicates that the Enchanted Armors were left behind BEFORE the Mursaat gained the ability to hover. In consideration to their location in the Crystal Desert, it can be surmised that the Mursaat, or the people who would become the Mursaat, may have Ascended successfully, and found they no longer needed their cumbersome armor, leaving it behind, as they made a new home in the Maguuma Jungle. However, that is speculation, what is known, though, is that the Enchanted Armor/Bows did most certainly belong to the Mursaat at a time before they gained the ability to hover. It may be, as suggested by other community members, that the Forgotten or Glint discovered the cast of armor of the Mursaat, and used it as their Enchanted pawns. It is also interesting to note that the armor of the Mursaat, before their Ascension, still bears the Eye of Janthir symbol, which suggests that the Mursaat had this symbol before they became the Mursaat. Based on the symbolism, it may be that the Mursaat were the civilization known as "The Seekers", but that is pure speculation.
Consider, if you will, the fact that there is a statue to the god Balthazar within the supposedly Mursaat built temple in the Maguuma Jungle. This suggests that the Mursaat, at sometime, worshipped the old gods. Now, as they set themselves up as the Unseen Ones, the gods of the White Mantle, and subsquently banned the worship of the old gods, we can assume that the Mursaat presently no longer worship the old gods, perhaps once they Ascended to their current form, they found some flaw or some yet unknown truth that compromised the old gods position as gods. At any rate, it seems apparent that the Mursaat now worship themselves. This is reflected in their choice of colors, as well. Once, as seen in the Enchanted, they utilized darker colors, whereas, now, they use golds, suggesting they see themselves as superior.
At any rate, sometime after their Ascension, the Mursaat found themselves at war with a race similar to their's, the Seers. Not much is known about this war, except that the Seers seek to release the Titans in order to destroy the Mursaat.
Sometime between when the Mursaat ascended and when the White Mantle is founded, we know that the Mursaat assumed the roles of the Keepers of the Door of Komalie. Perhaps they were chosen for this, or perhaps they did it on their own accord. Whatever the case, it is largely unknown why the Mursaat keep the Door, other than the fear the Titans.
I will briefly summarize my history of the Mursaat into a timeline. I am not including dates, because we simply do not know the exact dates of when, if at all, any of these events happened. However, I will put them in a rudimentry form of chronological order, based on my discoveries.
-Humans come into existance on Tyria
-An unknown civilization of humanity forms, adopting the eye as their symbol (possibly the Seekers)
-A civilization of humanity travels to the Crystal Desert in search of Ascension
-This unknown groups succeeds in Ascension, leaving their armor behind
-Group becomes known to itself as the Mursaat
-Mursaat build the Temple of Balthazar in the Maguuma Jungle
-Mursaat abandon worship of the old gods
-Mursaat assume/are chosen for the role of the keepers of the Door of Komalie
-War with the Seers begins
-Saul D'alessio stumbles upon the City of the Unseen in the Maguuma Jungle
-Mursaat become known as the Unseen Ones
-White Mantle founded
-Unseen Ones aid the White Mantle in the War with the Charr
-White Mantle assumes control of Kryta
-White Mantle battles undead armies of Orr
-Events of the Flameseeker Prophecies
-Unseen Ones revealed as the Mursaat
-Shining Blade resistance movement against the Mursaat
-Mursaat drive Stone Summit out of their caves while pursuing the Chosen
-Shining Blade defeated
-Mursaat defeated by Chosen at Ring of Fire
-Flameseeker Prophecies completed, Vizer Kilborn destroyed
Because of the evidence I have presented here, I think I have made a solid case for the history of the Mursaat. I hope you have found my article interesting, and that it has inspired you to further research the various mysteries of the Guild Wars world.
Feel free to post any other Mursaat related topics of discussion here, or any evidence you have found that proves or refutes my theories. This is as much a discussion as it is a topic of interest.
My only request is that you be respectful to the beliefs and theories of others.
VI: Special Thanks
Special thanks to all those who have helped me with this report. Eratimus: for founding the Guild Wars Paleoanthropolical Society; Malhavoc Adhamar: for his continued support of this project, as well as his guidence through the wilds of the Jungle; and to the forum community members: for reading and contributing to this article.
Happy Hunting everyone.
12-02-2006, 21:06 #3
Very good work, Quintus. The bits about the Temple of Balthazar are really cool, I had never noticed that.
(Is it me, or do parts of the Temple look like that weird building we see in the South Shiverpeaks, to the south of Beacon's Perch?)
Originally Posted by Quintus Antonius
This could be imporant, for it would show the Seer did not know what would happen once the Mursaat were defeated at the Door of Komalie. Not only it lends credit to the theory of how the battle with the race of the Seer happened after the Mursaat began their guard on the Door, but also that the Seer's race wasn't merely a branch of the Mursaat that broke apart thanks to some civil warfare.
What I'm curious about is how the Mursaat knew of the Titans. I wonder if they realize what was behind the Door, or if they just knew it was something that could kill all of them, and the world itself.
I'm also curious about how and why the Mursaat Ascended. We don't really know when the process of Ascension began, or why it was made possible in the desert - but was it something the Mursaat did, the Mursaat created, or something created to stop the Mursaat? We know only the Ascended one could claim the Gift of True Sight, that was needed to defeat the Mursaat.
Lastly, how did the Char know of both the Titans and the Mursaat? I have the feeling they sided with the Titans, against the Mursaat, but how did they met both races?
12-02-2006, 21:19 #4Originally Posted by Erasculio
Originally Posted by Erasculio
Originally Posted by Erasculio
Also, I have never had the privilidge of talking to any of the Seers other than the one in the IMoM mission, but if someone would provide me with the locations of them, or detailed screenshots of their conversations, I'd be happy to analyze the data.
Originally Posted by Erasculio
As for the Charr, that explanation is simple. They saw the Mursaat in a battle with the Titans sometime in the past, and through their legends and tales, passed them down as fire gods. Imagine if you were a confused hairy beast with a slightly less than sharp IQ and you saw a race of shining golden floating creatures in battle with a race of ginormous flaming rock beasts, you'd probably think they were gods. It isn't too dissimilar to how Saul D'Alessio saw the Mursaat as the Unseen Ones and made them his gods and the gods of the White Mantle.
12-02-2006, 21:34 #5
Intriguing, thanks for pointing out enchanter armor-mursaat similarity.
(just OT note: maybe game developers 1st imagined enchated armors in place we now see jades and jades in place of enchater armor.)
But there are several questions to be ansvered:
1) how did mursaat come to possession of Jades? Are Jades a race allied with them, are they animated constructs (like golems), or (as they can float) are they "converted" mursaat (maybe life lenght enchancing procedure ...)?
2) Why didnt we feel their influence earlier if they indeed have city in jungle?
3) Where is that city located? (was temple of bathazar entrance? there are white mantle camps nearby so it can be ... )
4) Why didnt characters get levitation ability upon ascending? what about those secrets revealed, why didnt we learn anything about gods? Were our characters granted only part of ascension? (seeing other ascended regardless of other influence, nothing else)
5) Whats with wings? did they grow them on ascension or what?
5) What about Spectral Agony, was it granted by ascending, if not, what is it? Maybe it was weapon designed against seers that happens to work on us too?
6) Who ARE seers and WHY do they hate mursaat? Seers seem to float like mursaat, but they look a lot less human that mursaat, while somehow similar to them.
Seers belonged to same group as Mursaat, but one group ascended as unworthy (i.e. not having chosen mark), they forced their ascension even thou Eye declined it. Im not sure wich group was it, but i bet it were Seers.
They came out of ascension perverted, instead of wings, they got another pair of hands, while mursaat skin turned to gold, thier turned to grayish something, etc ...
They became outcasts, propably were driven away to another world by mursaat as heretics. They led some wars from across worlds, but by now, they resulted to undecover tactits (4 seers spread over the world, aiding murssat enemies ...) they tried to controll elioden to make it weapon against mursaat, but failed and several elioden are now roaming tyria.
just note: Seers seem to be concerned about titan situation too, they even ordered you to kill armageddon lords. maybe they were ignorant about titan freeing business, if they knew it the wouldnt help you ...
Why did they ascend: group of that people faced titans and needed way to defeat them (magguna is close to ring of fire), led by some prophecy (i sense glint ...), they ascended and were finally able to battle titans as equal, battle was fierce, they had to take controll of each blood stone and seal it and guard keystone (in abadons mouth) to prevent breach. one bloodstone was on north, so charr seen battle ...
12-02-2006, 21:36 #6
12-02-2006, 21:37 #7
Great work, Quintus and all of you who did this. Eratimus and Malhavoc are also doing an awesome job.
As an historian myself i found this work you're doing as one of the greatest lore works i ever saw on a MMORPG.
Now, about the Mursaat. We all know of the great cataclysm event that happened on Crystal Desert. I was thinking about a possible Mursaat role on this cataclysm. Using the human behavior they could show them a way to kill each other and perhaps prevail on the ascencion trial, but knowing about the human greed, the mursaat could prevent the flameseeker prophecy to happen.
This might be the reason why the Enchanted are there. The forgotten might know about it, and even then are divided on helping you/fighting you.
The Mursaat, could just lend the Weapon to the Elonians and show them how to use it, knowing that they would use it against themselves and prevent them from ascending.
Maybe the Mursaat are the third people that came to ascend with the Elonians and Margonites, and after ascencion they might feel a little bit.. overzealous about their new condition. This way, leading them to a crusade against anyone with hopes of ascending.
And about the Charr, i believe they were siding with the Titans. I see the Titan as almost an facet of nature. The creation of a God that we still have to see, an force of destruction. As the fire itself. And as the Charr attacked Ascalon / Orr / Kryta, they forced the chosen to move and the heroes to rise and destroy the mursaat AND release the Titans. If the heroes had failed at the Ring of Fire, the Titans would be victorious. So, there is some kind of intelect behind the Charr / Titans. And i believe that the Vizier was serving the Titan God, and not the other way. Even Grenth could be behind this. Or even Balthazar. The gods might just not think like human beings, or some kind of war might be raging between them.
Well, this is my 2 cents.
Sorry for the bad english, not first language and a lil' rusty. x)
12-02-2006, 21:41 #8
You know, ancient weapon looks a LOT like something thatm mursaat would craft
Im not versed about Margonites, but is it possible that mursaat were margonites?
12-02-2006, 21:50 #9
First of all, congratulations on your work, Quintus, and thanks for sharing it. It made for a very interesting read, and it has captivated my interest. I'll be following your future studies on the matter as much as I can.
I do have two questions to ask, though:
1) I'll admit the story is kind of blurry in my mind, it never managed to catch me thoroughly enough. I was under the impression though, that both the Mursaat and the Seer's race were not native to Tyria. Something the Seer says in the Iron Mines dialogue? I don't know, I might be totally off, was hoping someone could clear this up for me.
2) You could say I'm nitpicking here, but in the screenshot I don't see any evidence to support the idea that the Mursaat can't walk. It appears to be that the greaves don't go up as high as the knees, ending a bit below them instead. Could you detail on your screenshot?
Anyway, congrats again, and good luck with your future work!
12-02-2006, 22:09 #10