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- "Bomb's away! Or rather, bomb's in your face!"
- "There goes the fuuuuuuse, and you're going to looooooose..."
Scarlet Briar, born Ceara, was the secondborn sylvari responsible for the destruction of Lion's Arch, and the subsequent awakening of Mordremoth in 1327 AE.
The Origins of Madness
Ceara emerged from the Dream of Dreams in 1304 AE with an innate fascination with the interlocking systems of nature, and a determination to forge her own path independent from the Mother Tree. When the rules of the world prescribed her one destiny, she would simply change the rules rather than struggle against them. After her birth, Ceara began experiencing terrors nightly, and the menders were unable to help her. In her journal, she writes of a sea of darkness, and an "entity" that calls to her in her nightmares. She became too scared to even sleep, and spoke of whispers coming from the forest, taunting and possessing her, and one day, after succumbing to sleep, witnessed the entity directly. It communicated images of "death, destruction, and destiny" to her, but despite this, Ceara gained a new fearlessness and deigned to learn more, to confront this entity and put an end to the madness.
After eight years studying in the Grove, Ceara set out into the world to learn the engineering secrets of the other races and incorporate their knowledge into her own. She spent a winter learning metallurgy as an apprentice of Beigarth the Smith, before moving on to spend two years studing firearms and artillery with the Iron Legion gladium Asagai. Ceara left the Black Citadel for Rata Sum, where she excelled in the colleges of the asura in Dynamics and Statics. She completed a special study to prove she could handle the college's coursework in under a year, as the highest-ranked member of her class. It was the College of Synergetics, under the tutelage of Headmaster Omadd, with which she took her time, becoming fascinated with the idea of the Eternal Alchemy and believing it to be something to be mastered rather than simply understood.
Ceara's ideas were understandably unpopular with the colleges of the Arcane Council, but very much in line with the ideology of the Inquest. She spent a brief time with them, but was ejected from Rata Sum after she and Teyo were found meddling with designs in the city's archives. After several months of wandering, she settled in the Michoan Marsh and studied the alchemy of the hylek, until she was again found by Omadd. Omadd offered her the chance to take part in an experiment, a mind-opening device (according to Ceara's personal journal), that he claimed would allow her to see into the Eternal Alchemy itself, but could not make any promises regarding her safety or her sanity.
After months of preparation, the experiment was ready to begin. Its purpose was to shut down the mind's security system and open it to the truths of the Eternal Alchemy. Ceara entered the tank a sensory deprivation chamber where she saw visions of what she believed to be the Alchemy. She saw Tyria and the Mists; she saw the insurmountable challenge of the future and her people's part in it—the sylvari of the tree and the Nightmare Court, Caithe and Faolain—all
part of a grand design. And then, for the first time in years, she
heard the voice of the Pale Tree, begging her to go no further. After a moment's hesitation, Ceara pressed on, and her sanity was broken. It is not clear what exactly she saw in the tank, but it is clear that when she looked across the open threshold in her mind, something looked back.
Vorpp has speculated that since the only things that were in the chamber were the things that she had brought herself, she must have been exposed to a part of her psyche that had been walled-off, perhaps for her own
protection, but also that further study of the Sylvari dream
was necessary before any more detailed conclusions could be drawn. Upon emerging she killed Omadd and took a new name, after the red thorned
vine she'd seen choking the Pale Tree in her vision, ready to burn the world.
Scarlet's secret lair.
At some later point, Scarlet was known to have worked with the Inquest at the Thaumanova Reactor, researching dragon energy and the ley lines that channel it across the globe. The Reactor itself was built on an intersection of these ley lines, and self-destructed, littering much of Metrica Province with the fallout. Around this time, steam creatures began appearing in Lornar's Pass, sharing many of the hallmarks of Scarlet's designs (although this was not known then).
A year later in, early 1326 AE, Scarlet, with the help of a "fast-talking, silver-tongued, snaked-nosed trickster from the city" convinced the Flame Legion and dredge to join forces to form a Molten Alliance.
With them, she developed hybrid sonic and magic weaponry and
technology, and a means of probing the ley lines that run deep beneath Tyria. She brought the Inquest and a group of pirates together to form the Aetherblades, a crew of sky pirates fitting for a fleet of stolen Pact airships, and attacked the Dragon Bash in Lion's Arch, killing Councillor Theo Ashford in the process. Scarlet attempted to put one of her own, Mai Trin on the Captain's Council, but Trin was discovered and apprehended before this was possible. Later that year, the Aetherblades attacked the Queen's Jubilee and hijacked Queen Jennah's new Watchknights,
which were partially based on the steam creatures. Between the
Watchknights and the Aetherblades, Scarlet was beginning to build a respectable army of her own, and after putting her Aetherblades to work in Twilight Arbor, an expanded fleet of airships with which to deliver them.
Her schemes hit new levels of audaciousness towards the end of the year, where she unified the krait and a splinter faction of the Nightmare Court to form the Toxic Alliance, to whom she promised an audience with a krait Prophet. They built a living Tower of Nightmares to rival the Pale Tree itself in Kessex Hills, which stood for over a month against a siege by the Vigil, before an antitoxin for the tower's poison could be developed. After the antitoxin was injected into the heart of the tower and the poison destroyed, samples of the toxin were found that were resistant to any antidote, indicating that the toxin had since been strengthened to be resistant to antidote, and that it had a future in Scarlet's plans. Around this time, Scarlet scattered energy probes across the continent, attempting to hone in on some sort of magical location, an intersection of ley lines. Whilst she was testing her most powerful weapon yet, the aethercannon, the probe in Old Lion's Arch lit up—Scarlet had found her target.
The Battle of Lion's Arch
Only a couple of weeks later, all of Scarlet's forces converged on Lion's Arch, razing the city as Scarlet's massive airship-drill, the Breachmaker,
descended on the ruins, boring into the earth toward the intersection
of ley lines beneath the city, as her forces deployed a deadly miasma. After a few weeks of confusion, the Lionguard as well as the Orders'
forces were able to formulate a response, and stormed the city in an
attempt to take it back. After defeating several of Scarlet's champions,
the Lionguard forces managed to get aboard the Breachmaker and put an end to Scarlet. Her last words were "too late". As she died, the Breachmaker hit its mark and disrupting a ley line, sending a spike of magic from Lion's Arch, through the Thaumanova Reactor, and deeper into the Maguuma Jungle, waking the Elder Dragon Mordremoth.