Editorials

The Anomaly that Haunts our Lands

Have you seen them? You know. The ghosts! They’re everywhere! Flashing in and out of existence after just a brief moment! Often little more than a streak of color in the corner of your eye as you’re turning around, the creepy sensation that you’re not alone on the country lane, that feeling of being watched.

The night loses its tranquility when ghosts are about.

The night loses its tranquility when ghosts are about.

Sightings Across the Land

I’ll never forget the first time I saw one. There I was, jogging down the shady lanes of the Harathi Hinterlands, minding my own business when it flashed into existence right in front of me; a stealthed figure with a bright yellow-green glow! I did a double-take and then a triple-take but it was gone. “I just saw the strangest thing!” I shouted into my communicator, “It was a …” and the words escaped me. “It was a ghost!” I finished, unsure if my companion, who was quite a distance away, would believe me. “It looked like a sneaky stealthed thief…but it glowed green,” I added, now even beginning to doubt myself.

Later that day as I traversed the Pinion Trail in Queensdale I saw another! “There!” I shouted into the communicator. “There it was again!” Only this one winked gold and silver in the corner of my eye and was gone by the time I’d turned to face it. Again, my companion did not see the strange entity. Maybe I’m crazy, I decided as I settled in for the night. Tempting as it was to take a nip from my flask to warm my bones, I decided against it. Maybe the stress of the recent battles was conspiring with the alcohol to play tricks on me.

The next day, I continued my work in Queensdale and it was along the road near Altar Brook Trading Post that I again saw the strange ghostly being! After clearing a small mob of enemies, I turned to look back the way I had come and there it was. It flashed in and out of existence so fast I couldn’t even take a picture! But this time I was certain. We were being visited by strange entities!

While ghosts are common in many parts of Tyria, the strange beings that have been seen throughout the land are not ghosts.

While ghosts are common in many parts of Tyria, the strange beings that have been seen throughout the land are not ghosts.

A Quest for Proof

But without proof would anyone believe me? I set out that day to find one, intent on photographing it. At first, I simply stood near Altar Brook, waiting for the entity to return. I admit my patience is thin and it did not take long for me to simply turn away in disgust and start down the road again. I was determined to find one but where would be the best place for a stake out? So far, all the ghosts I’d seen had been in human lands near bandit encampments. This was already sounding ominous given the White Mantle’s return and the ley-line anomalies we have been hearing tales of. Nevertheless, for the sake of the Priory and the Pact, I would face the growing unease that was bubbling in my stomach and I would hunt down one of these glowy ghosts, take its photograph and present it to my fellow researchers!

I began touring the bandit lands, waiting for the next fleeting appearance. At one point, I thought I saw one underwater, but it was gone before I could take the picture! For days I trod the world, looking for the anomalous ghosts. On the rare occasions I found one, it was so fleeting that my pictures were unsuccessful. As I walked, I realized that I was seeing them regardless of where I went and the first sightings near bandits had only been coincidental. At this writing, I have seen the ghostly figures as far away as Dragon’s Stand and as near to the human lands as Queensdale. They are even visible in the Mystic Forge in Lion’s Arch!

Like all discoveries, at the very moment I was ready to give up on ever successfully photographing one, suddenly my persistence paid off! In Brisban Wildlands, near the tunnels to Skrittsburgh and Zinder Slope, it flashed into existence once again! I actually watched it materialize! It glowed strongly in the chest area, forming what might be described as a rune. Its shape strongly suggested the emblem of the White Mantle or that found in bandit camps. Of course, this might also be just a coincidence…or the alcohol. Once the central glow faded, the anomaly formed the outline of a body – head, arms, legs, and torso. Just as suddenly as it had flashed into existence, it was gone! And now, I am able to present to you my hard earned proof!

The anomaly appeared on the bed of a wagon near Skrittsburgh. - Inset zoomed to show anomaly.

The anomaly appeared on the bed of a wagon near Skrittsburgh. – Inset zoomed to show anomaly.

The anomaly that haunts our lands

Despite my initial exclamation that it was a ghost, it most certainly is not. Nor do I believe it to be a stealthed bandit or White Mantle. Instead, this appears to be related to the anomalies that we have seen in recent months and shares a general shape with those that spawn from time to time in Bloodstone Fen. One look at any ghost of Ascalon will show that the strange sightings are not one of their ilk. While normal ghosts are semi-translucent, they are distinctive – wearing the same clothing in death that they wore in life; reliving the same patterns that they learned in life in constant repetition. Not only that, but they are long-lived, stubbornly returning again and again to haunt our lands, always in the same place no matter how many times they are dispatched. The strange anomaly ghosts, on the other hand, are neither well defined, nor long lived.

If they are not ghosts, what could they be, I ask myself. If they are indeed related to past anomalies, are they trying to break free to our plane? Why are they so fleetingly manifest? Are they a warning or an attack force? Will they try to communicate? Could they grow stronger? Sadly, a few still photographs will not answer these questions. But my fellow researchers and I are eager to learn all we can about these strange sightings! We have learned that they can appear in both the physical world and in the mists. However, even if one appears in front of you, your companions may not see it. For some reason, at the moment, they only appear to certain individuals.

Between the wall of the Mystic Forge and the whirl of Zommoros' magic, people can find more anomalies.

Between the wall of the Mystic Forge and the whirl of Zommoros’ magic, people can find more anomalies.

Yet, there is one exception to this, the Mystic Forge. By standing in the “waters” of the forge, a person’s visage is replaced by that of an anomaly! Could they be djinn related as my fellow writer contemplated? If so, is their appearance at the same time as the White Mantle’s reappearance simply coincidental? If not, how are they related?

Our research continues.

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