Since the overthrow and exile of the Flame Legion, the remaining three Charr factions are united and working together, but that doesn't mean they're linking claws and singing Kumbaya in the glow of the furnaces every night.
They're still Charr -- aggressive, dominant, and with no patience with what they view as failings or weakness in others. There are also circumstances beyond the basic nature of the Charr that add fuel to the fire on an ongoing basis. First and foremost, the Claw of the Khan-Ur is in the hands of the human queen Jennah. This is the weapon of the supreme Charr ruler, and without it, no single faction (in the eyes of the Charr) has the right to claim that throne.
In the absence of the Claw, the Charr have chosen to unite against a common threat: the ghosts of Ascalon. The Charr may have retaken Ascalon, but King Adelbern left a particularly nasty legacy in his determination not to give up completely: Foefire.
"Adelbern's curse upon the lands of Ascalon swept through the humans. In a white-hot moment, it destroyed their physical forms and cursed their spirits to wander the land, forever fighting against the Charr. Because the ghostly enemy was unrelenting and never completely defeated, the High Legions of the Charr were forced to work together from the outset if they wished to survive. Although they rejected forced unity, the need to defend themselves and Ascalon taught the three legions how to work together without sacrificing their individuality.
The Charr are nothing if not practical, and they recognize the benefit from and need to unite against this common enemy. The aforementioned absence of a supreme leader keeps the three factions jockeying for position. While the Iron Legion
is clearly the dominant faction, the other two chafe a bit under that rule and also view one another with a hostile eye.
The dynamic between the three Legions is illustrated beautifully in a story woven throughout today's update. It's a snapshot of life in the three Charr Legions, focusing heavily on Blood Legion soldier Via Splitvein. The story is nicely balanced between words, actions, and a few things left unsaid, capturing both the friction and the respect between the Legions. Slurs like "ash trash" are tossed around; the Blood
and Ash Legions
each clearly see themselves as superior and look upon the other with disdain.
At the same time, they have a clear respect for the hierarchical order within the ranks -- they may not always like what a superior has to say, but they'll do it nonetheless. There's also a respect, albeit sometimes grudging, for those with the strength and determination to see a fight through to the very end. It doesn't need to be spoken aloud, but it's there.
The other, non-story half of Ree's work today focuses on the chain of command -- specifically those at the top. While the Iron Legion isn't the official ruler of the Charr race, it's the closest thing to it at the time. The Imperator of the Iron Legion is Smodur the Unflinching, a battle-scarred, shrewd veteran.
Smodur's strength as a leader doesn't come only from his experience and physical power. "Smodur is a consummate engineer, a brilliantly intelligent architect and designer. Over the years, he has created many advancements to increase the Iron Legion's strength. The imperator considers his legion to be the most 'forward thinking' of all Charr. Due to Smodur's unusually progressive nature, other races are allowed in the Black Citadel so long as they prove their worth to the Charr. He is even working on a treaty with the human stronghold of Ebonhawke; a place that has long been a thorn in the Iron Legion's side. He has agreed to this treaty, so long as the humans return an ancient weapon lost during the Foefire: the Claw of the Khan Ur.
He recognizes that while learning from the past and a willingness to overcome any obstacle are valuable, a true leader must also move forward and be able to rely on diplomacy when needed. This attitude is serving him well as he works to negotiate the treaty with the humans.
If he succeeds, however, it's not necessarily the end of the story with everyone living happily ever after. There are questions among the Charr regarding what he intends to do with it. There are two schools of thought, with the first being the obvious: Smodur intends to use the Claw to claim supreme leadership over the Charr. Others, noting his forward-thinking nature, speculate that he's intending to destroy it and put an end to the old tradition once and for all.
Ree's look at the Charr way of life contains plenty of hard facts on things such as the Charr command structure, but it also goes much deeper by exploring why the race does things the way they do -- how they feel, what they value, how the way of life affects them as individuals. Read it in full at the ArenaNet blog
, and enjoy this final day of Charr week!