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"No one but Shiro Tagachi knows what made this sacred imperial bodyguard—the emperor's most trusted servant—turn on his master on the Day of the Jade Wind. Did Shiro plan to sever the unbroken imperial bloodline and crown himself emperor? Was it revenge he sought, for some perceived wrong the emperor had done to Shiro or the Tagachi family? Could Shiro have been seeking some form of power that historians can no longer comprehend?

Whatever his motive, Shiro's act has been literally carved in stone. On the last day of the Harvest Festival, the emperor's favored bodyguard arrived at the Harvest Temple and was waiting when the emperor reached the pinnacle of the temple's tower. Shiro cut down the emperor of Cantha where he knelt on the holy floor, staining it forever with the monarch's blood. Shiro himself was slain only moments later, but his revenge on those who killed him was the most significant event in Canthan history since Kaineng founded the empire. In Shiro's final moments, he drew on all of his ill-gotten power to drain the emperor's very soul away. Seething with magic but mortally wounded, the treacherous bodyguard screamed, and his voice washed over an area hundreds of miles across. Shiro's death wail became the Jade Wind, a cataclysmic wave of energy that turned trees, animals, people, and open water into stone and crystal.

In the wake of Shiro's fall, the empire carried on. But Shiro's legacy on the continent is undeniable and permanent. Today, many signs point to Shiro's return after two centuries in the border realms of the afterlife. A spectral force driven by rage, a thirst for power, and a special kind of madness, he corrupts everything in his wake. The Canthan people know nothing of this, and suspect that the hideous results of " the Affliction" are some kind of monstrous plague. But even those who know that Shiro stalks the shadows have no idea of the power seething within him— or what he might do with it."

— The Guild Wars Factions Manuscripts


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