Yeah, I know that one’s a stretch, but I know a bandwagon when I see one. Besides, those sacrifices are catering to something (even if it’s a purely imaginary something) and being catered for before the time comes for them to die (albeit poorly).
For those who have been paying close attention to the Guild Wars 2 media, there were few surprises in the Shadows in the Water article. Unlike, say, the skritt (whom we knew only by name, some odd concept art and an appearance in a video, before their turn in the spotlight came), we had not only fought the krait on the Tarnished Coast but had also heard about them in interviews and functions such as the Design A Dynamic Event discussion. So we already knew about their shape-shifting nature, their Always Lawful Evil (GuildMag accepts no liability for time lost due to following that link) status, their aquatic nature, and their great towering cities from which they sacrifice their captives to their religion.
What is new are the details. For instance, we now know that the main function of the above-water portions of the krait cities is purely to confine air-breathing captives for sacrifice. While the construction efforts to raise these platforms from the sea floor to above the highest storm-lashed waves must have been immense, their value to their religion is clear – an oceanic tower surrounded by krait-infested waters would clearly be much more difficult to escape (or be rescued) from than a shore encampment.
Also revealed is the presence of frightening intellects among the krait. Without the aid of a written system (unsurprisingly, since most of the common mediums for writing would not work underwater) the krait have proven capable of not only memorizing large bodies of literature (even if this may turn out to be less “memorizing” and more “using whatever suits their current purpose that sounds official”) but they’re also good at performing advanced mathematical calculations – apparently in their heads, unless it turns out that the krait have invented abacus-like or other devices.
Of further interest are the monoliths that hold such significance in the krait religion. The krait believe that the monoliths mark the ascension of prophets that will someday return with all-conquering armies to claim the entire world for the krait… and this is something that may actually be partially right, as those monoliths appear eerily familiar. Compare, for instance, the following:
The obelisks lack the ornamentation of the Eye of the North (although these may have been worn away over millenia of underwater erosion), but there does appear to be a similarity in architecture there, and it can hardly be missed that the Eye itself was built in the centre of a lake. Could there be some connection between the krait and the builders of the Eye? Perhaps, if an entrance was to be found into one of the obelisks scrying devices like that in the Eye would also be found, or perhaps the obelisks could have been raised in homage to the Eye and/or its builders. Could it even turn out that the krait were the builders of the Eye, but like the naga and jotun, some disaster has devolved them into their current state?
Speaking of devolution, there is one distinct difference between the krait of Eye of the North and the krait depicted in the Shadows of the Water article – the lack of feathers. This should not be surprising – the krait models in Eye of the North were a recycling of artwork and models planned for the Mesoamerica-themed couatl race, but such flamboyant feathers are clearly unsuitable for an underwater-dwelling race. This makes their removal a retcon, but a minor one – and, in my mind, forgivable if it means the Utopia concepts can return as originally conceived in a future Guild Wars 2 expansion.
In making this change and fixing their shape to humanoid above the waist, the krait, however, have come to appear much closer in appearance to the Canthan nage, which prior to the Jade Wind had achieved a culture of peace with humans. Could the naga of the Jade Sea have been originally a renegade population of krait which turned their back on the religion of their ocean-dwelling cousins to adopt more wholesome practices? And could some or all of the reports of naga along the coast in Canthan history, especially the “naga” invasion during the time of the empress Tah Mu, have actually been misidentification of krait as the serpentine race that the Canthans are more familiar with?
One thing, however, is certain. According to krait history (which, to tell the truth, may well have been “selectively edited” by the priests over the years) the krait have never known defeat. One wonders how they reconcile this with having apparently been driven from the wider oceans by the Elder Dragon of the Depths, but either way, they’re going to learn. Even (and perhaps especially) if the lesson will turn out to require repeated beatings with blunt instruments in order to hammer it home.
What do you think? Do the krait have any connection with the Eye of the North? Are they perhaps relatives to the naga race in Cantha? Would you’ve prefered to see them with feathers rather or do you like the more humanoid version? Tell us below!