I’ve mentioned before that I play Blade and Soul primarily for its combat. That said, I have been curious about the world of this game and its lore. Beautiful as the game may be, its history and its universe don’t seem to be terribly well explained. So, if you’re like me and you’re blasting by the quest text in order to find more interesting characters, here’s a little Blade and Soul lore primer to get us all a little more familiar with the game’s world.
The Earthen Realm
The world of Blade and Soul is referred to as the Earthen Realm, or the Jianghu, a description of the world that translates to “rivers and lakes”. Descriptively, the Earthen Realm is not unlike our planet with a similar variety of biomes and climates. The biggest difference, of course, is the proliferation of martial arts. Those who are practitioners of any form of martial art are part of the wulin, a society of wuxia fighters who simply share prowess in their art but follow different clans, schools of training and principles. This community shares no common banner overall, and can be aligned with or in battle against anyone in their community. Of course, there are typical people living in the Earthen Realm as well, all of whom being one of four different races; the Gon, the Jin, the Lyn and the Yun.
The Gon are towering, muscular people who believe themselves to be born from the breath of dragons. Their fury and power lends creedence to this legend, as the Gon can be quick to anger and are known to be nigh-unstoppable when enraged. As such, the Gon usually approach matters with a practiced and measured calm so as not to stoke their well-known fires.
The Jin are the most numerous of the races of the Realm, and are also the most even-tempered with a strong sense of morality. Most Jin can be found helping people with their troubles where possible and almost all carry an attitude of perseverance.
The Lyn are a race that trace their lineage back to the Kirin, a race of legendary animals who were mischievous and unpredictable. Some of that cunning has remained, as the Lyn are capable of sensing things that other races cannot and able to tap in to spiritual forces that elude many. Their demeanor is just as unpredictable as their actions, as they have been known to change emotions mid-conversation.
The Yun are an all-female race who feel a deep connection to the earth and are capable of sensing the flow of its energies. Though the Yun are more than capable in combat, they are more primarily revered for their artistic abilities, as their creations exude a beauty and craft that is without peer. Their connection with the ebb and flow of energies make them particularly meditative and balanced between eloquence and elegant power.
The History of the Realm
The history of the Earthen Realm is told over the course of 1000 years and with the rise and fall of two different empires. The first was the Naryu Empire, a technologically advanced force that dominated the world with the power of Soulstones. These Soulstones were mined from deep within the earth and powered remarkable machinery. However, the overuse of the Soulstones distorted a spiritual balance, allowing the Dark Realm and its Dark Chi energy to seep through. Demons entered the Earthen Realm and tore the Naryu asunder, leaving the rest of the world within their grasp.
However, the Divine Realm would bless four martial Masters with power enough to drive back the darkness. These four masters were granted incredible powers, elongated life and a divine weapon known as Twilight’s Edge. So armed, these four masters met the demons of the Dark Realm in battle as they attempted to build a Dark Gate that would allow their Lord to pass through. Over the course of the fight, one of the Masters, Mushin, would sacrifice himself by leaping in to the Gate to seal it. The demons were stopped, but the influence of Dark Chi was still prevalent, and so the remaining Masters would fight to cleanse the Realm.
As centuries went by and the victory of the Four Masters passed in to myth, a new empire would rise to take prominence over the world. The Stratus Empire was a massive ruling force that held power over all of the world. So immense was this empire that they had to be broken up in four different parts; one for each of the continents in the North, East, West and South. The Emperor would remain in the empire’s seat of power in the South, while his sons would rule the other continents.
The death of the Emperor would signal the beginning of the end for the Stratus Empire. The Emperor’s youngest son, Wan, was named heir to the throne. This drove his brothers to jealousy, and the continents of the realm would be torn asunder as they sought to usurp his rule. The conflict would cause Dark Chi to manifest once more, and the world was once more besieged by demons of the Dark Realm, who burst forth from the Eastern Continent and its capital of Highland Central. Before the world could once more fall under the thrall of the Dark Realm, the remaining Masters again rose up to fight back the incursion and seal away the demons again.
Despite the victory, the damage to the Stratus Empire was complete. Dissent and defection rose among the ranks of the Empire’s armies to the point that one general started his own splinter faction known as the Talus Dominion. The Stratus Empire was frayed apart as its final vestiges of influence remain in the southern continent
The Realm Today
The Earthen Realm today is one where the influence of corruption, strife, war and misery leads rise to Dark Chi once again. The Talus Dominion has grown to be a feared power in the world. The Masters are missing or slain. And the rage of the Black Emissary, Jinsoyun, threatens to take advantage of the surge in Dark Chi to once more build a Dark Gate and let the Lord of the Dark Realm through to consume all life.
Without the protection of the Divine Realm-blessed Masters, it would seem the Realm will finally be swallowed by darkness. Yet even when things are at their worst and the races of the Realm seem only capable of dark deeds, there are others who still stand up for righteous causes. Perhaps the old Masters are meant to make way for new heroes to rise and fight back.
…I should probably be getting back to that fight now that I’ve read all of that, actually. Until next time, hope to see you in the fields or soaring through the air!Related: Blade & Soul, Column, F2P, Lore, MMORPG, NCSoft