Last week, Aaron discussed the possibility that Rytlock’s teacher in the revenant arts may have been none other than Razah, the mysterious Mists entity whom we befriend at the end of Guild Wars: Nightfall. One of the offshoots of that discussion was the raising of the question: If Razah is the one who invented the revenant profession, how did this come to pass?
As Aaron observes in his article, one of the properties of the Mists is that they have the potential to spawn new creatures and locations through forming themselves into a reflection of that life form or environment. The accuracy of these reflections varies, due to processes that are not fully understood – from uncannily accurate even to an individual (as Dessa appears to be until she attempts to leave the Mistlock Observatory) through slightly off (the Searing fractal) to a twisted mockery of the original (such as most Torment demons). Razah fits in the middle category – it is in many ways like a human, but also in many ways clearly not.
Razah’s main distinguishing feature is that, while it starts off as a Ritualist due to its affinity for the Mists, Razah gains the ability to switch between primary professions with relative ease. While it is possible for mortals to do so, this usually occurs as a result of years of retraining (ArenaNet has compared it to a scientist switching disciplines) or a life-changing epiphany. Razah, however, does this with apparent ease.
The Sincerest Form Of Flattery
Possibly the simplest answer is that Razah retained some of the mutability and potential to mirror other beings of its Mists origins. To change profession, Razah doesn’t need to undertake the laborious process of unlearning the habits of the old profession and learning anew – Razah might simply duplicate the powers and skills of a member of the new profession directly into its own mind, overwriting the profession it abandoned: a skill at stealing the knowledge of others that any Mesmer might envy.
During the period between Razah’s liberation from Abaddon and the end of the Guild Wars 1 timeline, it would have mostly had the PCs and the NPC heroes and henchmen to serve as templates, and hence he could only borrow the same abilities available to everyone else. However, while those characters changed the course of history in their time, they did so by cooperation: Individually, they were (with the exception of certain builds, anyway) not the match of the likes of Shiro, Mallyx, or the Great Dwarf as embodied in Jalis Ironhammer. As Razah’s mortal friends began to die off and retire, it would be natural for it to seek to further develop its abilities by seeking out more powerful ‘templates’ – such as the vestiges of these legendary figures that remain in the Mists.
Such an explanation for the source of the Revenant would neatly explain why all of the legends announced or suspected thus far date from Guild Wars 1. Razah would have had the opportunity to meet Shiro and Mallyx while still under Abaddon’s thumb, and if it accompanied the heroes into Eye of the North, then it would have met Jalis and Ventari there. This would grant it the impetus to seek out the vestiges of these legends in the Mists, and explain why it was able to impart the powers of these legends upon Rytlock.
The Student Teaches The MasterThe source of the suspected Glint-oriented specialization, however, may not have come directly from Razah. Canonically, the meeting with Glint occurred years before Nightfall, and thus well before Razah was first recruited as a hero. It is possible that Razah was able to experience Glint’s power through some other means – such as helping to protect Glint’s hatchling in Eye of the North – or that it visited Glint at some time outside of the scope of Guild Wars 1.
Unlike Razah, however, we do know that Rytlock has met Glint in person… and, furthermore, has carried an anger ever since that the deaths of Snaff and Glint proved to be in vain. It is, therefore, possible that it was Rytlock who provided the impetus to seek out Glint’s vestige and add her legend to his repertoire. Such an event would explain why it might be Glint’s legend, out of all of them, that becomes the elite specialisation while the others are ‘core’. Jalis, Shiro, Ventari and Mallyx are all part of Razah’s core teachings, while the ability to channel Glint’s power comes from Rytlock’s own contribution to the profession.
With all that said, it is possible that Razah is not technically a revenant. While in this theory Razah has been able to develop techniques that allow mortals to take on some of the “mirroring” qualities of the Mists through channelling the legends, it is doubtful that mortals can achieve this with quite the proficiency of one who was born directly from the Mists. In game terms, this is represented by a core set of revenant skills (specifically, the weapon skills) that do not change according to the legend that is channelled, making the adoption of a legendary stance only an imperfect mirroring of the vestige. Razah, on the other hand, might have no such limitation: when Razah channels a legend, Razah may be able to mimic the legend in all particulars.
Thus, Razah may not truly be a revenant, but the ideal to which revenants strive to reach – but can never achieve.