The “Legends of Dereth” series of Journals, featuring a look at historical figures from our early time on Dereth, continues this week, as Jacinth looks at one of the most well-known figures in AC lore (he’s in the game’s intro vid, for cryin’ out loud!), Thorsten Cragstone:

There is a fine line, it is said, between being a hero and being a martyr. Unfortunately, there is some truth to that statement, as many who perform great deeds often don’t live to see the results of their actions. The history of both Ispar and Auberean is filled with the tales of such individuals, and perhaps one of the most notable of these individuals was a man to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude, Thorsten Cragstone.

Of his past before coming to Dereth, we know very little, but what Cragstone accomplished after his arrival reverberates to this very day. About six years before the period of time we mark by Portal Years, Cragstone came through a portal to Dereth and, like most of us who arrived during those dark days, was enslaved by the Olthoi. After two years of captivity by the alien insects, he escaped and alongside several other escapees formed a resistance group dedicated to freeing their fellow Isparians from enslavement.

Not long after forming this resistance, Cragstone and his men came across another escapee from the Olthoi, the daughter of a minor family of Isparian nobility named Elysa Strathelar. Together, Cragstone with his mighty axe and Strathelar with her bow, the two became a formidable pair, strengthening the anti-Olthoi resistance with every captive they freed, and over time, they became far more than comrades on the battlefield. Eventually, they located an ancient labyrinth upon the Isle of Tears and relocated the resistance there, and thus was founded the Underground City, the first true home and settlement we had ever had on this world.

One day, while exploring some Empyrean ruins near the Underground City, Elysa accidentally triggered a portal that sent her to an island retreat near the eventual site of Eastham; we were thus introduced to Asheron Realaidain, the Empyrean at least partially responsible for our presence on Dereth. Feeling some guilt over our plight and wishing to aid us in overthrowing the Olthoi, Asheron provided Elysa with a poison with which to coat her arrows and the means with which to enter the Olthoi hives undetected. Soon, under the cover both of darkness and Asheron’s concealment, Cragstone and Strathelar led a band of warriors deep into the main Olthoi hive, and far below the surface of Dereth, they faced the One Queen, the most dominant and powerful Olthoi on all of Auberean.

The battle was fierce, but victory was finally achieved when Elysa pierced the eye of the One Queen with an arrow drenched in Asheron’s special poison. However, that victory came at a high price, as the brave Cragstone was felled at the hands of the Olthoi, impaled by the One Queen’s terrible pincers. Regardless of the cost, we had won our freedom from the Olthoi and were able to establish settlements along the River Prosper and eventually throughout all of Dereth. Thorsten Cragstone’s mortal remains were interred within the Underground City he called home for so many years, and his legacy continues to endure, both in the realm of the tangible by way of the town that bears his name and the son, Prince Borelean, he left behind, but also in a solemn reminder: No prize truly worth having comes without a price, and freedom, perhaps the single greatest prize of them all, often comes at the dearest price.

For more on Thorsten Cragstone, check out the Cragstone’s Axe and Armor quest writeup or the History of the Underground City game text.

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