The Lore Train - Duty Commenced Gerolt & Rowena Lore Lowdown
The NA Community Team went live with Duty Commenced 10 today, sharing lots of details about the upcoming Patch 3.2 (not 2.3), as well as a massive installment of Lore Lowdown giving background on Gerolt, Rowena, Relic/Zodiac weapons, and the House of Splendors. As always, we got it into our archives as fast as possible (annotated with an anonymoosely contributed note here and there), so check it out if you missed todays ep!
He loves to spend his days deep in his cups, and is ever eager to try new ales and spirits from all corners of the realm.
He dreams of forging the ultimate kettle.
Before making his home in Hyrstmill, Gerolt was once considered the greatest craftsman in all of Eorzea. Alas, he has since fallen on hard times, and now makes a living crafting kettles.
Moose’s Note: It seems Gerolt has branched off from mending kettles to just making his own. A niche market, but clearly a lucrative one if he was able to pay a tab like his just repairing them.
From blacksmithing to carpentry to weaving, all these arts and more were mastered by Gerolt, the renowned artisan whose name once echoed through the halls of every workshop in Eorzea.
None could match his sense for form and function, his creations earning the acclaim of disciples of war and magic across the realm. All who sought the finest tools of their chosen profession had eyes only for those fashioned by his masterful hands.
Accomplished as he was, though, not even Gerolt was without one whom he looked to for counsel. But there came a day when he and his mentor no longer saw eye to eye. Heated words were exchanged and fists soon followed. Gerolt took to the road, deciding to settle in Hyrstmill in the wake of the Calamity.
As the years passed, his extant creations grew all the more valuable for their rarity, and were coveted by the wealthiest collectors in the realm.
Age: A lady never tells.
Her passion is amassing wealth through both material and human resources. The power of her purse is said to be without equal.
She dreams to one day make a foray into the world of politics. With a seat now empty on the Syndicate, perhaps this dream will be realized sooner than anticipated.
Moose’s Note: Not many in Ul’dah get caught up in deals with someone that is both a ruthless busness(wo)man and someone who’ll give them fair shake. Even if meant in jest, the sultanate could do (and has done) worse than Rowena. (And let’s not forget that she welcomed the Domans, who were well willing to work for their keep.)
Proprietor of the House of Splendors and self-made gillionaire. With her keen eye for marketable wares and valuable artifacts, Rowena is more than happy to relieve adventurers of their unwanted goods. Business is booming, and she has already started to expand operations into the north.
Before she founded her mercantile empire, she was a humble weapons merchant. That is, until she became acquainted with a nobleman who recognized her eye for quality. One transaction led to another, and before long she had developed connections with Eorzea’s wealthiest aficionados of rare artifacts.
For her new enterprise to truly prosper, however, she would require the aid of those adventurous souls who uncover all manners of rarities on their journeys. As luck would have it, the Adventurers’ Guild was planning to open a new chapter in Mor Dhona, and was in need of financial assistance. Her generous contribution allowed both her and the Adventurers’ Guild to build new home in Revenant’s Toll.
As the guild thrived, so too did Rowena’s business, with curious wonders and knickknacks coming in by the cartload, and soon she would open the House of Splendors. Her secrets are perhaps the only commodities in her possession that aren’t for sale, though. In the eyes of the public, she is nothing more than a financial supporter of the Adventurers’ Guild, but her relationship with them may be more than it seems…
Moose’s Note: Some lore-forum-conspiracy-theories fall, others rise…
The Saga of the Zodiac Weapons
Legends tell that, when the world lies upon the brink of destruction, brave souls who bear the Light shall rise to banish the Darkness. These Zodiac Braves wielded weapons of unparalleled strength, and Jalzahn, an accomplished alchemist, ventured to Eorzea from the
Far Near East in hopes of recreating them.
Moose’s Note: The slide on the stream read, “Far East”. However, Radz-at-Han is actually the capital of the Near Eastern island of Thavnair (nice catch, Killbray!). An aside, the Zodiac Braves’ story is actually written on the relic windows themselves:
In an era long since ended,
When chaos reigned o’er all the land,
Did valiant souls take up the fight
To bring forth Light and cast out Dark.
They numbered Twelve, no more nor less.
He came in search of the realm’s greatest blacksmith, but what he found was a drunk who passed his days forging kettles. What he saw next, however, gave him pause: an adventurer wielding a weapon enhanced by an elixir of his own creation. His determination thus renewed, he aided this intrepid soul and, with the power of atma, saw that the weapon was reborn as a relic weapon atma.
Though his recent endeavor was a success, Jalzahn was confident that the weapon could be improved further still. The Zodiac Braves were said to gather light to their blades by vanquishing their enemies. Jalzahn theorized, however, that the heroes were in fact absorbing the power of souls. He was certain that the relic weapon atma could be used in the same fashion. All that remained was to find foes to vanquish. To that end, he turned to “The Trials of the Braves,” a collection of sacred texts that tell of the ancient heroes’ deeds. And so, by following in their footsteps, the adventurer obtained a relic weapon animus.
The relic weapon animus was impressive, but still not quite that which was described in the legend of the Zodiac Braves. To see his life’s work realized, Jalzahn pursued the study of materia, and how it might serve to help the relic weapon animus reach new heights of power. He devised a plan calling for sphere scrolls, a medium for capturing the light energy of materia, which could then be infused into the relic weapon. And so, with the aid of a sphere scroll crafted with enchanted ink and alexandrite, a relic weapon novus was born.
The relic weapon novus was full to bursting with soul energy, but Jalzahn was not yet satisfied. He was convinced that the relic had not yet reached its full potential. After much research and testing, he concluded that the problem was its degree of soul attunement. Alas, he was at a loss for how to attune the relic to its host.
It was then that he found an unlikely well of wisdom in Gerolt. Offering a fine bottle of spirits as compensation, Jalzahn persuaded the blacksmith to apply a soul glaze to the relic, allowing it to more easily attune to the user. With Zodiac Glass provided by Gerolt, the adventurer ventured forth. After many trials, the energies slumbering within the relic soon aligned, and it was transformed into a relic weapon nexus.
The relic weapon nexus was perfect. Yet even this weapon Jalzahn was determined to improve further. Gerolt, sensing an opportunity to acquire more liquor, proposed how they might surpass even perfection: by recreating the vessel of a Zodiac Brave’s arm, and infusing it with the soul bound to a relic weapon nexus.
To that end, the adventurer was tasked with collecting a veritable bevy of rare materials to facilitate the process. With the aid of the relam’s greatest blacksmith and alchemist, they succeeded. A Zodiac Weapon was reborn.
The Zodiac Weapon was at last complete. Or so they thought. Curious to know more about the Trials of the Braves, Gerolt struck a deal with Rowena to acquire a full set, including the final tome of the series, the “Book of Netherdark.” It was there that he discovered the original Zodiac Weapons possessed a sentience shaped by the bearer’s soul—a sentience the recreation appeared to be lacking.
Utilizing Gerolt’s criminal connections, the adventurer contacted a black market trader named Remon, who supplied them with the means to awaken the Zodiac Weapon—mahatma. A new potent catalyst in hand, the adventurer set off once more. Their soul resonance with the weapon grew stronger with every encounter. Then, with a final potion from Jalzahn and Gerolt’s fiery forge, it was done. The Zodiac Weapon Zeta had awoken.
Moose’s Note: Not one shout-out to Mutamix Bubblypots. Are we marginalizing all gobbies because some bad eggs summoned a primal? I thought we were better than that…
The History of Gerolt & Rowena
In days past, Gerolt and Remon studied metallurgy under Heidolf, a well-renowned blacksmith. The two were quite gifted, and as word of their takent soon spread, Heidolf’s smithy flourished.
More and more people came seeking their custom. Rowena was one such patron, a confident, quick-witted woman, who had eyes only for her wares… and then young smith, Gerolt, who crafted them. Remon escaped her notice—though she did not escape his.
As Heidolf saw his smithy’s celebrity grow, he realized that so long as a product carried the mark of Gerolt or Remon, it would be sure to sell. And so a plan was hatched: inferior goods made by younger smiths would bear the marks of the masters.
Quality fell by the day, sparking rumors and raising suspicions. Rowena, who knew well Gerolt’s craftsmanship, soon uncovered proof of Heidolf’s plot, and subsequently threatened to cut ties with his smithy if he would not cease his deception.
This would not bode well for Heidolf. Rowena represented an arms dealer with an extensive network of connections in Ul’dah. To lose such a client would be a devastating blow for both him, and the less reputable associates who now profited from his business. Should they be displeased, it could very well cost him his life. Therefore, he decided that Rowena must have an accident—one which would bury her and the truth along with it.
When Gerolt learned of this scheme, he begged and pleaded for Heidolf to reconsider—to return to the way things were. But to Heidolf, Gerolt’s pleas were as insults. How dare he lecture him, his apprentice, with his skill and his fame and his youth, upon whom he had been forced to rely? Who would surely steal his smithy from him, and cast him aside like a hammer no longer fit for the forge… Heidolf knew he had to strike first.
However, his attempt to kill Gerolt was not only unsuccessful, there was also a witness.
Remon had suspected something was amiss with Heidolf, and now he knew for certain. But Gerolt had surpassed him at every turn, and had stolen the heart of his beloved Rowena. And so Remon spoke not a word of what he saw.
Gerolt was cast out. With nowhere else to go, he took to the road.
It was only a matter of time before Rowena learned the truth, after which she resigned her position and left Ul’dah in search of Gerolt. Remon, whose jealousy had driven him to silence, could not bring himself to stop her. With a heavy heart, he abandoned his hammer.
With the loss of Gerolt and Remon, Heidolf’s business soon fell into ruin. Utterly undone, he plunged a dagger into his own heart—the first dagger forged by his finest apprentice long ago.
After no small amount of searching, Rowena was at last reunited with Gerolt. Together they traveled to faraway lands, where at last they exchanged their vows.
And then, one fateful day, a letter came. Remon, who had established himself as a black market dealer through Heidolf’s former connections, had learned that Rowena, upon resigning her position, had stolen a great deal of money from both her clients and her former employer—and that they would hold her to account.
Gerolt devised a plan. Her persuaded Rowena to lend him an exorbitant amount of money under the guise of starting his own smithy. However, he would instead return this money to those she had wronged by way of Remon, and conceal the truth by playing the villain. His former colleague agreed to help him—under one condition, to which Gerolt agreed.
The next day, Rowena was alone, her love nowhere to be found.
Weeks turned to months, turned to years. Rowena, driven by her anger towards the man who had betrayed her, returned to Ul’dah and began trading in antiquities. With focus and determination, she began to build her business. And then, one day, another letter from Remon came. Gerolt had been found.
Moose’s Note: How broke did Gerolt leave Rowena? Never forget.
Alas, the man Rowena found in Hyrstmill was not the man she had married. Gerolt was a shadow of his former self, a man broken from a life spent running. A drunkard mindlessly hammering away at mere kettles.
She thought back to the man with a spirit as fiery as a forge, whose weapons were as works of art—to that day when they had first met. As she squeezed the wedding ring he had crafted for her, Rowena made him an offer. Honest work for honest pay.
…Or so Drake would have us believe,
based on the mumblings of a drunkard abed and his patrons.
Is there truth to this tale?
Only the Twelve know.
Assorted Fun Facts
Drake was first inspired to seek an apprenticeship with Gerolt after seeing his masterworks armor in Limsa Lominsa. Though not immediately aware of its origins, he followed rumors of their maker to Hyrstmill. Upon finding him, Drake pleaded for an apprenticeship, offering a self-made knife as proof of his skill. Gerolt agreed under the condition that he successfully distilled a bottle of spirits using ingredients from his hometown.
After seven failed attempts he succeeded, at last becoming Gerolt’s apprentice. That night they enjoyed a celebratory dinner, during which they used Drake’s knife to cut the meat. Unbeknownst to Drake, this was a tradition Gerolt had learned from his former master.
All of those in Rowena’s employ are women, burdened with terrible pasts and terrible debt to match. Rowena agrees to shoulder their debts in exchange for their services. Their names are not their true names, but rather monikers given to them by Rowena, all of which end in “na”, which marks them as Rowena’s indentured servants.
They are forbidden from using their real names under any circumstances until their debts have been repaid in full. Though not all her employees share their names, such as those who labor as Splendors vendors, rest assured that they all bear a name with Rowena’s mark.
Her employees dealing with collectables wear different clothing due to the fact that they deal directly with her more wealthy and influential clientele, including representatives of foreign nations.
The Diamond Forge found inside the House of Splendors was co-funded by the Adventurers’ Guild. Because of this, adventurers are free to use their facilities, provided they receive the proper authorization beforehand.
You get it? FINAL FANTASY TACTICS artwork? Zodiac Braves?
And that’s it for now! (“It,” I say, it as if my fingers aren’t numb just from typing it.)
If you’re enjoying these bonus tid-bits of lore, be sure to give a shout-out to the NA Community Team (and the Lore Team for taking the time to prepare the information). I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: loremongers have come a long way since our days of camping the text bug report forum looking for tid-bits in exchange for finding typos.
Until the next!