"We were chosen, not for our virtue, but for our might. Our brilliance. Our ruthlessness."
A throwback to the heroes of myth, Cyril is described as appearing 'fully-grown and larger-than-life' into people's hearts and minds. He was already considered a hero of legend before the history of the game, where he throws in Zareph's rebellion against his evil brother, Aedraxis. His support for Zareph changes the rebellion from a political coup into a fight against evil in the minds of the people, giving Zareph popular support for the first time in the civil war. After dying when Aedraxis cracks the Ward, Cyril was brought back to life as an immortal Ascended and now leads the Guardian faction against the planes and the heretical Defiants.
Big Damn Heroes: Single-handedly breaks a siege and saves Zareph from his brother's forces.
A member of the long-lived elven race, Shyla led the High Elves in their guardianship of the forest alongside her beloved, Prince Hylas. When the call came from Zareph for allies against the evil of his brother, Aedraxis, Shyla is quick to gather her supporters and prepare to ride to his aid. But Hylas refuses to meddle in the affairs of humans, and so she leaves him behind. After her death and resurrection as an Ascended, she returns home to find her lover cold and distant. And when she joins the High Elves together with the humans and dwarves to form the Guardians, Hylas takes his entire household and abandons her.
Death by Origin Story: Despite being immortal, and a damn good fighter besides, Aedraxis/Regulos smacks him down hard enough that the last the player sees of him is a regretful spirit 20 years in the future.
"We choose to defend ourselves. We will save Telara."
"Sometimes a single idea can change the world."
Founder of the defiants and its current leader. Orphiel is an exceptionally powerful mage and brilliant scientist, having had a very large hand in the creation of factory made ascended as well as Orphiel's failsafe, the time travel device that allows the PC to return to the past to help save the world. Despite his genius, Orphiel considers his greatest shame to be his teachings of Aedraxis, the Mathosian king who began the shade.
The Atoner: Depending on how canon you take Mathosia (the guardian starting zone), Orphiel fell to corruption and seems to have snapped out of it after Aedraxis fell, hence his attempts at making ascendant can be viewed as trying to make amends for his past misdeeds.
Naytheist: Like most defiant, he's less than impressed with the vigil, preferring science to faith.
Vague Age: He's hunched over most of the time like he's well up there, but he looks fantastic, so it's hard to say. He was in Mathosia in the past, which would have to make him at least 40, but he hasn't visibly aged a day over the 20 year period between then and when players get into the main game world.
"I take orders from neither man nor god."
The high general of the Defiant and descendant of Ethian royalty. Asha was once a member of the Dragonslayer Covenant, working to keep an eye on the dragon cults. When Aedraxis caused the shade, Asha was caught in the first burst of energy and killed. In the void, she was confronted by Regulos, the dragon of death, and was offered a chance to lead his armies against Telara, infusing her with power to tempt her. She turned him down, and just when Regulos was about to destroy her using the same power he had just given her, she was pulled away from him and revived by Orphiel.
Non-Human Sidekick: A troll named Murph that she saved somewhere along the way, She says he's a good bodyguard and friend, not like it matters, since he attached himself to her and wouldn't go away.
Power Tattoo: Her elaborate runes are where Regulos gave her some of his power to tempt her into joining him. It didn't work.
"We will crush the Blood Storm."
The leader of the bahmi and the Defiant's stratego, Rahn is a steadfast and honorable man who believes in morals. This isn't entirely positive: He doesn't trust the Kelari due to their practice of Human Sacrifice, often clashes with Anthousa Mona, and is estranged from his daughter Uriel on account (in part) of her interest in the plane of death.
Badass Grandpa: He's canonically both past his prime and still quite formidable.
"These Trials are nothing for the Kelari."
The higher priestess of the Kelari, Anthousa can usually be found with Asha and Rahn. Her feelings towards Rahn are mutual, she doesn't care much for how "unimaginative" the bahmi can be and wonders if, when the time comes, he can make the necessary sacrifices.
Flat Character: Although this is set to change in the future, she currently really doesn't have anything going for her except her disdain for Rahn and her backstory in which she was the one who called for the Kelari exodus.
"No great discovery is made without a few mishaps."
An eccentric Kelari scientist, Sylver is the one responsible for making Orphiel's manufactured ascended a reality.
"Question my motives if you must, but not my orders."
The leader of the unseen and former Abyssal cultist, the Faceless Man can often be found wherever abyssals are nearby, waiting to sabotage them and stop the madness that he's seen first hand from invading Telara.
Anti-Hero: Easily the most ruthless of the Defiants, which is fitting considering his past in the Rift Cults. Much of his dialog suggests (and some outright states) that he considers himself beyond good and evil as long as the Dragons are defeated (Regulos and Akylios especially)
"A sailor might see a shark feed, and say he has seen hunger, or through a shark’s black eyes he might understand hunger and go mad. This is the difference between the true nature of the Blood Storm, and the dragon forms they take upon Telara."
"Regulos lies. He promises his cultists peace through death, but the peace of the void is not prosperity. He promises his lieutenants eternal power over the undead, but will unmake and consume all of reality to sate his hunger."
Dragon of Death and the single greatest threat to Telara, Regulos wants nothing less than the total cessation of all existence. Called the 'Dragon of Extinction', he is last and mightiest of the Blood Storm and the most dangerous to the lives of those on Telara. Amongst the dragons, he alone was not imprisoned when they were first defeated over a thousand years ago. Instead, his physical form was outright destroyed, his spirit banished beyond the Ward into the void between the planes. For over a millennia, he has railed and screamed against the wall separating him and the world, until he was finally able to subvert the crown-prince of Mathosia; Aedraxis Mathos. The result of his corruption was a crack in the Ward and the creation of the rifts. If Regulos is able to succeed, he will unmake everything until the universe is oblivion. His followers, the Endless Court, delude themselves with fantasies of ruling the world, but their master will leave no world to rule.
"Weak minds crave domination. Weak flesh yearns to obey."
Regulos' lieutenant and leader of the Endless Court, Alsbeth seeks nothing more than her master's revival and the breaching of the Ward.
Arch-Nemesis: To Asha Catari. The two went to school together, and Asha's dialog says that she was always trying to prove herself better. When Asha refused to become Regulos' Herald, Alsbeth rushed to take her place.
Face-Heel Turn: Was once a Guardian Ascended before joining the Endless.
"He was mad even before he learned all fears and secrets. There are no words for what Akylios is now."
Dragon of Water, Akylios is a mystery. His original goal was the pursuit of knowledge, and to that end he absorbed all the thoughts and secrets that Crucia scoured from her followers. He spent endless eons crossing from world to world, learning every tragic secret, every evil spell, sipping the nightmares of dying worlds. It is said that while the motives of the other dragons can be understood - the desire to hoard, to consume, to destroy - Akylios is beyond understanding. He does not seek victory or riches or domination, but will one day kill everyone just to listen to their screams. Second of the dragons to fall.
Go Mad from the Revelation: "Akylios covets knowledge, all knowledge. He learned every hideous secret he could, and invented many of his own, refusing to forget anything he learned even when his vast mind became full to the outer limits of madness."
The Stars Are Going Out: "[Akylios] floated in the cosmos, singing along to the dance of the stars. And the stars who heard him went cold and would sustain no life."
You Cannot Grasp the True Form: "Like all the Blood Storm, Akylios’s true form is an expression of everything he represents, and can best be described as the best way to peel a man is in one long spiral strip, like an apple. So strange did Akylios become that even his cohorts found him unsettling, and his “dragon” form bears little resemblance to anything the sane would imagine."
"His ideal is constant, shifting struggle, where species of every sort live and die at each others’ throats, till only the most vicious survive—or something stronger comes along."
Dragon of Life, Greenscale personifies the phrase "survival of the fittest". To his mind, civilization is the subversion of nature, which should always be expressed in its purest form - kill or be killed. The forests that grow under his power are filled with relentless predation and unstoppable wildlife, usually at the same time. Those who find themselves lost in his woods are often forced to become a feral beast themselves just to survive, until they can find themselves killing their own families without realizing it. His cult, the Aelfwar, is really only the noble house of the High Elves who support his cause to tear down all remnants of civilization. True to his nature, Greenscale cares nothing for his followers, but instead is only interested in creating a world choked by the deadliest of jungles and where living minute to minute is the greatest of accomplishments. The first of the dragons to die.
Wild Child: What people become if they find themselves lost in the woods.
"The red dragon is chaos incarnate. Any goals beyond sowing turmoil and ruin are a waste of his time."
Dragon of Fire, Maelforge has no greater motive beyond destruction. However, unlike Regulos who seeks to permanently unmake all of existence, Maelforge takes pleasure in the very act of destruction. To this end, he is always careful not to destroy something completely, but to allow enough to survive so that he can destroy it again in the future. He ultimately desires a world where he can fly from nation to nation, burning down each one before leaving to let it rebuild, as he destroys another that has just been rebuilt. The least subtle of the dragons, this mindset extends to his followers, the Wanton, who will destroy anything ranging from individual lives to entire nations. Maelforge predictably hates Greenscale, but also Regulos, who would leave him with nothing to destroy.
Blood Knight: "Destruction for destruction's sake" describes Maelforge perfectly.
Omnicidal Maniac: Subverted-he's so much of a Blood Knight that he would actually spare the world after he conquers it so it can properly rebel against him and give him an even better fight.
"A lifelong friend suddenly changes expression and becomes a deadly assassin. Children turn against their parents, and kings are killed by their consorts, who the night before swore love eternal."
Dragoness of Air, Crucia desires total control of the world. She sees individual minds and thoughts as a cacophonous bother, one that she will correct by erasing every song except her own. By using the power of air, Crucia erodes the mind and will of an individual, replacing everything within them with herself. Her cult, the Storm Legion, is exclusively made of such people. She is the most subtle and possibly the most dangerous dragon, and was able to subvert and infiltrate every major power during the Age of Dragons before her imprisonment. Unlike the other dragons, her cage is far from hidden: the combined power of a pyromancer and shaman sealed her away in a deep lake from which they banished all heat, creating an endless winter for miles around. Eternally frozen in place, she is nonetheless fully awake and capable of stretching out her will. One of her minions claims that Crucia remains imprisoned on purpose, using the ice as a shield while she recreates her mind-controlled legions.
The Chessmaster: Rather than fight directly, Crucia prefers manipulate others. She only stays imprisoned because, inside it, no one can harm her.
Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Air has the advantage over Death, since there's nothing solid for the Death magic to influence. Because of this, Crucia is said to be the only dragon who can defeat Regulos one-on-one. This may or may not be the reason why they mated and have had children.
"Laethys will feast atop a pile of famished wretches. All will adore her alone, and she will never give them quite enough."
Dragoness of Earth, Laethys' one and only goal is to own everything. From her point of view, all riches and wealth already belong to her - she is merely reclaiming them. This extends to all members of her cult, the Golden Maw, whose members extend through the rich and nobility. While she is one of the least destructive dragons, her influence can be far more damaging. It is through Laethys and her followers that entire nations can find their wealth gone, funneled into the bottomless gullet of the Golden Maw. Unlike other cults, her followers are the rich and the powerful, the wealthy merchant or the greedy noble. Whether it be a single copper coin or a pretty slave, Laethys will never be satisfied until everything in creation belongs solely to her. It is for this reason that she particularly despises Regulos, who would destroy what she would own, and her own sister, Crucia, who would replace heated lust for gold with passionless serenity.