An Ode to Love in Tyria

There are many who say there’s no place for love in a world at war (or a video game, for that matter). But the citizens of Tyria are apt to disagree: instead, Guild Wars is full of some fantastic love stories, some loud and proud, others somewhat subtle, and a handful that are downright comical. In honor of the month of all things romantic, I thought I’d give a quick homage to  four of our favorite couples and love stories.

Prince Rurik and Althea Barradin: A Shakespearean Tragedy
Love him or hate him, Prince Rurik is one of those characters that stands out in the minds of all who played the first installment of Guild Wars. Whether it’s his questionable AI or the display of brazen defiance against his own father, he is in many ways unforgettable.
For new heroes starting out in Prophecies, the very beginning of Tryia’s playable story, we meet Rurik in the beautiful, quaint city of Ascalon. Outside the city walls, those seeking guidance in the way of the Mesmer will also get to meet Althea. She’s a woman of considerable beauty who has captured the hearts of a few. However, Rurik is the lucky guy to have hers. Later on, should you accept, you may end up charged to find a gift equal to Althea’s beauty for Rurik to give for her birthday the following day. Depending on who you give the gifts to, the entire scenario can end somewhat humorously.
Unfortunately, fate had other plans for the young couple. With the Charr invasion, Althea is eventually captured and killed. Two years after the tragic events, we eventually find ourselves speaking with her ghost. Even in death, she worries about Rurik and misses him deeply. After the encounter we are asked by her ailing father to find Althea’s ashes in order to help her finally rest in peace.

Mhenlo and Cynn: Putting the Fun in Dysfunctional
The relationship between Mhenlo and Cynn is probably one of the funniest and most explored in the entire game. It’s almost surprising that it happened at all, but it has become a fan-favorite dynamic over the years. And why not? These two have a whole lot of history!
Hints at their pairing start early: Mhenlo owes a chunk of confidence to Cynn and makes a few comments here and there about her being the “fire” in his life, so to speak. Cynn displays her affection in a much more non-traditional sense that often involves threats and hissy fits.
Things start to heat up when players make it to Cantha. We learn the homely, sweet-natured monk had a bit of a history in his younger years. He seems to know just about every female in Cantha, much to the increasing displeasure of Cynn. This is a trend that continues in Eye of the North where the newly animated henchmen act out around outposts. More often than not we see the pair arguing or Mhenlo showing off with Cynn throwing a fit behind him.
How this couple fares is yet unknown to us: we know that Mhenlo begs for a savior from marital pressure during Gwen and Keiran’s wedding. But something tells me when all’s said and done, these two end will up with a happy, albeit dysfunctional, ever after.

The distance is how they show their affection.

Koss and Melonni (And Tahlkora): Well this is awkward.
The relationship between Koss and Melonni is often questioned by fans. For some, it seemed out of the blue and for others it was obvious from the start. Regardless though, these two offered a fun and interesting take on the development of a romance.
They’ve known each other for a long time and have the sort of dynamic that one would expect from childhood friends. They bicker a lot and always seem to know what the other will do or say in a given situation.
What really raised eyebrows, though, was the addition of Tahlkora into the mix. Young and defiant, the princess-monk had a crush of sorts on Koss which struck a few as creepy because of the assumed age difference. It was a mild attempt at a love-triangle but it really didn’t develop into much.
With Tahlkora’s encouragement, Koss and Melonni ended up deciding they were meant for each other, bickering and all. Perhaps in this instance the sweet outweighs the creepy!

Gwen and Keiran: *That* Couple
Everybody knows them: the two that are constantly making hearts at each other on facebook, tweeting sweet inappropriate public nothings, or leaving cryptic angry status updates in the middle of a fight.
That’s Gwen and Keiran.
The relationship started innocently enough. During the holidays, Keiran recruits players in an attempt to lift Gwen’s cold and broken spirits. It seems a little left-field at first. It wouldn’t be the first time a random NPC has charged us with impressing a lady, but we take notice because it’s… well, it’s Gwen. It’s hard not to, whether you like her or not.
Upon completing the small chain, we’re left with an awkward conversation, a small case of the fuzzies / nausea depending on who you ask, and access to some decorated ranger pets. Fair enough.
Then Guild Wars Beyond happened and the rest, as they say, was history.

The dynamic between Gwen and Keiran is a roller-coaster ride of emotions we don’t quite remember signing up for. Gwen’s seemingly unbreakable ice-shell quickly turns aggravating, and Keiran’s lighthearted determination is admirable at first but seems hopeless. But here’s the kicker.
The saving grace of this romance was the fact that Keiran actually also got as frustrated as we did. He gets angry, pointing out Gwen’s stubborn foolishness, and then, almost unexpectedly, actually gives up and leaves. This left players and Gwen in a minor state of shock and tears (I put a lot of work running around collecting things for her! How could she!?).
Lucky for them, we’re damn amazing at fixing things. If we can beat an old god, then we can mend a broken relationship. With steadfast determination and a bottle of tums, these two finally get their happily ever after. And thanks to our efforts, Logan happened. But that’s a whole other story.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

By Balthazaar's beard, make it stop.

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