GuildMag issue #6



Humans of Cantha, The First to Walk Tyria

The Canthan Ecology

An Overview

Humans stretch far and wide across the world of Tyria and are commonly considered one of the most, if not the most, widespread and influential races throughout the world. Humans arrived in Tyria alongside the gods, the gods' existence only predating that of human existence a short time. Humans were first noted as settling in Cantha early in 786 BE; from Cantha, humans spread throughout the world of Tyria.



As stated earlier, Canthans were among the first humans to walk across the world of Tyria, their arrival being marked at 786 BE, five-hundred years earlier than the first recorded humans on the continents of both Tyria and Elona. Through this, one can assume that perhaps the true gods first created the continent of Cantha and then came to Tyria, bringing humans to the world. This period is known in the Canthan Calender as the, “Late Pre-Imperial Era,” and is believed to be the period where the Kurzicks and Luxons, as they are known today, claimed their ancestral lands. During the year 510 BE, Kaing, the warlord, united all of the tribes through militaristic force under his name and declared himself the first emperor lord, thus changing his name to Kaineng Tah and founding the empire of the Dragon as most denizens of the world know it today.

Kaineng's death in 464 BE was said to have been caused by his horse going wild. Kaineng's son, Yian Zho took over the empire, and others soon fell victim to his bloodlust. Within the first decade of his rule, Yian began assaulting the Kurzicks and Luxons, forcing them to unite under a single name and, in fact, become vassals for the empire. The war between the Kurzicks and Luxons is often put upon Yian's shoulders.

Canthans remained isolationist until the year 100 BE when the first Canthan ambassador made his way to Ascalon. One-hundred years later, magic was given to the races of the world, and the heroic professions became common. Consequently, a man named Chaing Hai made his way to Shing Jea Monastery for training. In his time there, Chain Hai wished to become Weh no Su and succeeded, thus becoming the first ascended emperor of the Canthan nation.

The war between the Luxons and the Kurzicks was still rather heated, but apart from this, Cantha had been rather peaceful for around two-hundred years. During this time, the Dragon Empire of Cantha made the first recorded contact with the other human kingdoms of Tyria. Also, during this time, Emperor Singtah fell victim to one of the most well-known assassinations in Cantha. Singtah was murdered in his own palace as it burned down. A short time later the palace was rebuilt - as it is seen today - by Sinvoh, the son of Singtah.

During the Age of the Dragon, beginning in 872 AE, Luxon and Kurzick animosities were nearly severed by Shiro Tagachi, the emperor's bodyguard. Shiro spoke fluently in a language that both factions could understand, which helped him greatly in enacting peaceful negotiations. In 865 AE, Shiro helped save emperor Angsiyan's son from corrupt ministries, causing Angsiyan's trust in Shiro to grow.

Unfortunately, the emperor's trust in Shiro would be his downfall. A fortune-teller tricked Shiro into thinking the emperor had planned to kill him; Shiro began plotting to steal the power of the harvest ceremony. While the emperor was praying to receive Dwayna's blessing, Shiro slew him and took the power for his own. Saint Viktor and Archemorus were warned of the assassination by the temple bell ringing too soon. They made their way to the top of the Harvest Temple and found Vizu attempting to hold off Shiro. Luckily, Vizu had dealt a hefty blow to Shiro, leaving him weak, and allowed for Saint Viktor and Archemorus to slay him.

In 880 AE, the tension between the Canthan people and the tengu had been rising. Settlers of the empire needed to move to Shing Jea Island so they could farm on the lush, untouched country-sides in order to stabilize the Canthan culture. Unfortunately, the settlers began to take the land of the tengu and started creating animosities between the two cultures.

The small skirmishes between the people of Shing Jea and the tengu were merely over land. However, war nearly went full-scale when a group of Sensali tengu murdered an entire village of Shing Jea farmers and were believed to have devoured the bodies of their victims. Emperor Hanjai's assistant and a chieftan of the Angchu were able to make peace treaties, but this caused the Sensali to turn hostile towards the Angchu tengu.

However, as Canthans continued to settle Shing Jea, the peace accords between the tengu and the humans grew thin. With the new settlers came disease that caused the tengu to kill their young, and after so much devastation was brought to the tengu, an all-out war quickly broke out. Soon, peace was once again restored, and this was marked as the Day of the Tengu.

The Angchu honored the treaty between the tengu and the humans. Unfortunately, the Sensali faction of the tengu claimed the Angchu to be traitors and kept raiding outposts and farms. In 902 AE, the trade relations of the northern kingdoms were closed off, sending Cantha into isolation. In 1070 AE, Cantha finally opened up trade to Lions Arch again under watch of Emperor Kintah.

Canthan Politics

The Empire of the Dragon stretches far and wide over the continent of Cantha. With a single ruler, it is impossible for one person to constantly look after an entire nation individually so Canthan politicians use a bureaucratic system. This bureaucracy is known as the Celestial Ministry. Emperor Kisu currently looks over the Celestial Ministry, which is divided into four smaller ministries: The Ministry of Flame, the Ministry of Earth, the Ministry of Water, and the Ministry of Wind. Unfortunately, the ministry is corrupt, and most know it. Canthan citizens hate the bureaucratic way the nation is run but love the emperor.

Emperor's Court

The Emperor's Court is separate from the Celestial Ministry. Whereas the Ministry meets with the emperor on given dates, the Emperor's Court is often in his presence daily. The court is made up of many nobles and even a few Luxon and Kurzick spies. Emperor Kisu knows of the spies in his presence and uses them to control what information the clans receive.

Within the Emperor's Court one will find the many facets of the emperor himself. These different facets consist of: the Emperor's Blade, a deadly bodyguard who is the master of the sword as well as the emperor's right hand, the Emperor's Voice, who speaks the words of the emperor, and the Emperor's Hand, the person who solves problems where words aren't enough and violence isn't the key.


As stated earlier, the Empire of the Dragon is split into four ministries. While the power is out of balance and the ministries are corrupt, most citizens see this as a necessary drawback. Without the bureaucracy, Emperor Kisu would not be able to dabble within all of the affairs of such a huge continent and would have much more trouble leading it.

Ministry of Flame

The ministry of Flame is the oldest established Ministry within the Canthan bureaucracy. Ministers of Flame have control over law enforcement and justice. Those persecuted might suffer from incineration. In a mythical terms, the Ministry of Flame is set to control the rising and setting of the sun. Minister Zal is the current minister of Flame.

Ministry of Earth

The ministry of Earth deals with paperwork, construction, record keeping, and other tasks that would fall under similar categories. The Ministry of Earth is often known for starting projects that often go unfinished but prove profitable to those involved with the ministry. The ministry's mythic power grants control over the bounties of the land, such as animals, vegetable, and minerals. The current Minster of Earth is Minister Jaisan.

Ministry of Water

This ministry is in charge of irrigation, the empire's water supply, and fishing regulations. The Ministry of Water also shares a harbor with the Ministry of Wind; this is a persistent conflict between the two ministries. This ministry's mythical power is the control of the moon's rising and setting. The current Minister of Water is Minister Nai.

Ministry of Wind

The Ministry of Wind controls most trade as well as most things that actually require the wind to operate, such as ships. Captains of ships must pay taxes to the Ministry of Wind. It is claimed that these taxes make the wind blow in favor of Canthans. This ministry shares harbors and ports with the Ministry of Water; this balance has often led to many disputes between the two minstries. This ministry's mythical power is controlling wind and storms. The ministry's leader is currently Minister Tao.

Canthan Culture

Canthans are bound by honor and spirituality. They revere the five gods and also pay homage to lesser spirits. Much like humans from both Elona and Tyria, they can train in five professions; however, Canthans have two specific professions they may train under - training under the cunning assassin and the spiritual ritualist.

Death among the Canthan culture is honored. Mortals that lead dishonorable lives during life are sent to the Oracle of the Mists in death and do her duty as envoys, guiding fresh spirits into the Mists. Those that died in honor, however, are lead into the Mists to their final resting place, where their spirits may lie in peace.


Sometime before the Jade Wind, the Kurzick clan and the Luxon clan formed - the Kurzicks settling within the deep corners of the Echovald Forest under comfort of the lush canopy and the Luxons carving out a way of life through the wakes of the Jade Sea. Conflict was ignited between the two factions far before the Jade Wind, even before any sort of empire existed within Cantha. And, through all of the trials and tribulations both clans have had to endure, they still find reasons for conflict and bloodshed.



The Luxon Armada, believed to have sailed upon the Unending Seas with the margonites, mainly inhabits the Jade Sea. Once manning great ships that swam over giant waves and through vicious maelstroms, the Luxons find themselves grounded after the Jade Wind solidified the sea. Luxons are a very combative and nomadic faction, constantly moving around the Jade Sea looking for more bountiful places to settle. The armada is split into three clans: The Crab, The Snake, and The Turtle. The armada itself is lead by a a Council of Elders consisting of one elder from each clan.

Currently, the Luxon origin is unknown; however, the Luxon's reputation and namesake predated the unification of the Empire under Kaineng Tah. Early in Canthan history, the Luxons faced heavy persecution from Yian Zho and had many of their elders publicly executed. The Luxons then rose up and united to strike back at the Empire and quickly became vassals to ensure the killings would stop. Under orders from the Empire of the Dragon, the Luxons fought alongside the Emperor's troops against the Kurzicks. Scholars believe this is what may have ignited the hatred between the two cultures that still stands today.

The Luxons and Kurzicks were peaceful for awhile, bound by multiple treaties under Emperor Angsiyan's rule. All this was shattered when the two champions were slain by Shiro Tagachi, causing the two factions to return to skirmishing. Soon, the skirmishes ignited into vicious battles when war was officially declared between the two factions. However, some years later, Emperor Kisu returned the war to simple borderline skirmishes we know today due to signing treaties with Kurzick leaders. Shortly after, due to Shiro's second return, the two factions found peace; this peace was quickly shattered after Shiro's second death.


Luxons thrive on wanderlust and strength. The Jade Sea is the ultimate test of both, forcing the Luxons to be determined and resourceful - both qualities the Luxons possess and are proud of. Many things in the Luxon clans are determined through strength, certainly the leadership of the clans. Once a year the Council of Elders meets to revise the code of the Luxons and discuss the previous years' revisions. Revisions are monitored for one year; during this trial period, if they do not work, they are removed or revised again.

Another annual ceremony the Luxons hold is the Convocation. During this ceremony, the Spear of Archemorus is handed over to the winning clan. When the clans meet at the Convocation, their champion and elite guards battle to the death. The winning champion then gets to slay Zhu Hanuku and claim the right to possess the spear for a full year. The clan that receives the spear acts as the leading clan until the next Convocation.

Apart from strength and determination, Luxons value architecture and use the elegance around themselves to create beautiful structures that coexist alongside the land. Naturally, Luxons worship Grenth, Lyssa, and Balthazar, as they value strength, beauty, and war. They also worship three demi-goddesses: Alua, Elora, and Ione. These deities are known as the Three Queens. Nothing is known about these three demi-gods.

Luxons who are considered traitors or are cast out from the Luxon society become Outcasts. The Outcasts hold true to their name and cease to take any part of the Luxon lifestyle and are forced to wander the Jade Sea until insanity sets in or they become Oni due to the curse of Kanaxai. The Outcasts generally work within their own unknown system but have been known to work with Kurzicks; however, these occurrences are rare.


The Luxons are divided into three different clans. The clans tend to get along even worse than the houses of their Kurzick counterpart but are always willing to put aside their differences when it comes to their hatred of the Kurzicks. Each clan has a captain as their leader, and these titles are earned upon the captain fighting his or her way to the top.

Turtle Clan

Of the Luxon armadas, the Turtle Clan is the most widely known of the three Luxon clans and possesses the finest Luxon warriors and most devastating magic within the whole of the Jade Sea. Befitting to the clan's name, The Turtle Clan breeds and raises the mammoth siege turtles, living devices of war. These turtles must be raised from hatchlinghood - a long and difficult process. Unlike their brethren, members of the Turtle clan cast aside leviathans and prefer their siege turtles as means for transportation. Juno is the current leader of this clan.

Crab Clan

The Crab Clan often boasts of its ability to find the richest veins of the most magically concentrated jade within the Jade Sea. Because of their jade mining abilities, the Crab Clan is the wealthiest clan among the Luxon armadas. The Crab Clan, seemingly enough, travels around in great leviathans shaped like crabs; also, many reavers are a part of this clan, pillaging remains trapped within the Jade Sea. The current leader, Queen Amara, usurped her title from her brother, who quickly took over after their father's death. Amara, long thought dead after a skirmish along the border, returned with a following of dragons and Crab Warriors, quickly ending her brother's reign.

Serpent Clan

Engineers of the Serpent Clan were the first to create leviathans and adapt to the newly solidified Jade Sea; due to this, the Serpent Clan is often called the Leviathan Clan. These glorious land-sailing ships, sometimes walking on two legs even, are this clan's preferred method of transportation. One of the clan's favorite tactics is to load siege turtles onto a large leviathan and deploy the slow-moving reptiles near Kurzick enemies, allowing for a nice surprise attack. Among the clans, the Serpent Clan is home to the best pirates and reavers and are able to access sunken vessels long though inaccessible by other clans. The Luxons consider piracy an honorable - even necessary - part of life. Their current leader, Lexis, dueled her way to the top of the clan; however, her notable skill in piracy has allowed her to keep it.



It is not currently known how the Kurzicks came to be, but Kurzicks were known as such before the unification of the Empire of the Dragon. Much like their Luxon counterparts, the Kurzicks suffered much persecution from Yian Zho during his reign and were subject to mass execution. The Kurzick factions resides in what remains of the Echovald Forest after the Jade wind turned to stone; they make their homes in the very trunks of what were once living trees. The Kurzicks are lead by their Council of Nobles alongside the five great houses.

During Angsiyan's reign, the Luxons and Kurzicks were united after their full-out war years earlier due to multiple treaties, causing them to become enveloped within the Canthan government. This peace didn't last long, though, due to Shiro slaying the Emperor and each faction's champion. War soon spread after the death of the champions, perhaps more violent than ever; this can be attributed to the lack of food alongside the already scarce jade and amber.

Both factions passed off their skirmishes as minor disagreements until 1017 AE when both factions finally declared war. Soon Emperor Kisu lessened the fire that burned between the two nations due to treaties with Kurzick leaders, reducing the war once again to borderline skirmishes. As history would recall, Shiro returned, causing peace between the two nations. This peace, however, was quickly shattered after Shiro's second death, as stated earlier.


Kurzicks pride themselves in art, music, and worship. They all revere the True Gods, but each house has a single patron deity they revere the most. The Kurzicks are all a part of one of the seven houses, five great houses and two known smaller houses. Each house has a distinguishable trait and a patron deity. Despite this fact, all Kurzicks care for the forest they live and and protect it with their lives; all wish to see life return to the statues of the Echovald Forest.

Most Kurzicks look to the Council of Nobles and the Redemptor, spiritual guides who have connections to the saints and the gods. The Council of Nobles often seeks guidance from the Redemptors. Aside from Redemptors, Tree Singer, Kurzicks who have a direct link with the few living trees in the fores, are among the honored people of the Kurzick nation. Tree Singers are the main components of one of the Kurzick's most sacred ceremonies known as the Awakening Ceremony. During the ceremony a volunteer gives up their body to become a Juggernaut, a giant sinuous being made from what seems to be sentient plant, and participate in rigorous protection of the Echovald Forest.


Control of the factions is divided up into houses. There are five greater houses and two lesser houses. Each house has a head of the house and a saint, as well as a patron god. The houses generally squabble amongst themselves, but when it comes to the hatred of the Luxons, the houses are always ready to put aside their differences.

House zu Heltzer

House zu Heltzer is one of the most politically powerful houses among the other houses. Members of this house can trace their ancestry back to Saint Viktor and often times are not afraid to use this knowledge as leverage in political controversy among the houses. Most of the cultural renaissance seen within the art, philosophy, magic, and medicine can be attributed to this house. Count Petrov zu Heltzer leads the Houze zu Heltzer; the settlement for members of this house is House zu Heltzer, the primary patron being Dwayna.

House Vasburg

Paying homage to Balthazar, the House Vasburg sees violence as the most pure form of beauty. Vasburg has lost the most soldiers and guards to the Luxon Armada and is very proud of the fact. Most members of House Vasburg seek an honorable death and train as if their final breath would be their next. Baron Mike Vasburg and Baroness Attia Vasburg lead this house. Their primary settlement is within the Vasburg Armory

House Lutgardis

House Lutgardis is the home of the performers. Almost every form of music circulates from Lutgardis. The members of House Lutgardis boast talent in music as well as all sorts of performing but also hold the talent of creating the finest musical instruments in Cantha. House Lutgardis is also home to the Tree Singers. The patron god is Melandru, and the house is lead by Duke Holtz Lutgardis in Lutgardis Conservatory.

House Durheim

This house is known by many nicknames - the most common of which is “the old house.” House Durheim keeps the records of the Kurzick nation and strive to maintain culture with the Kurzicks. This house claims to have a special relationship with Grenth, the patron god of House Durheim. Through this relationship, members of the house are able to gather history of every Kurzick who ever lived. This house is lead by Count Durheim and Countess Sandra Durheim in the Durheim Archives.

House Brauer

Members of the House Brauer take pride in their elegant and beautiful sculptures, revering beauty and elegance over all else. Among all the houses, House Brauer is least suited for war, but when their duty is needed, they are more than willing to serve. House Brauer's patron god is Lyssa and is lead by Count Archek Brauer in Brauer Academy.

House Ulrikar

One of the lesser houses, House Ulrikar consists of the ambassadors who traveled to Kryta in attempt to spread the Kurzick beliefs and culture to another land. Due to hostilities in Kryta, this house was exiled from Kryta. This house is lead by Baron Ulrikar, but it is unknown who the patron god is and where the House Ulrikar resides.

House Gorhopf

Nothing is known about this house apart from the dedication to peace and harmony with the Echovald Forest.


The humans of Cantha are shrouded in both mystery and intrigue. While delving deeper into the depths of Canthan lore, I learned a great many things about the humans of Tyria that I never would have known; it's really humbling to see so much from our past but still understand so little. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to include the entire pool of information I had amassed, so I would encourage you, young readers, to lend your eyes to some nearby tomes and conduct some research of your own. I think you will find many interesting things about your past. But I digress, for my research is still on-going, and I must be delving deeper into our pasts in both Elona and Tyria throughout the coming months so that I am prepared for the next publication. For now, I have tomes I must dust. Farewell, readers.

- Mel Hoppenheim

The unofficial Guild Wars magazine.
© 2003-2011 ArenaNet, Inc. All rights reserved. NCsoft, the interlocking NC logo, ArenaNet,, Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCsoft Corporation. All other objects are the property of their respective owners.