Waking from the Dream
When all sylvari awaken from the Dream of Dreams, they are already filled with knowledge. This knowledge is gained during their pre-life Dream, which sometimes results in certain sylvari following a Wyld Hunt - a strange calling that makes one feel compelled to do ‘something’, whether that be fighting the Elder Dragons or simply aiding a village.
However, Ceara was different. When Ceara emerged from the Dream, she was fascinated with the interlocking systems of nature. This seems like a fitting start for sylvari, though this wasn’t the only fascination of Ceara. She had a determination to forge her own path, independent from the Mother Tree. The ideas of following a path forged by someone else felt wrong to Ceara. Even if this may be a worrying awakening, no aura of evil intent was given off by this sylvari, just independence and confidence.
Ceara studied for eight years at The Grove, learning the basics in life. Unfortunately, this was not enough for her. This sylvari craved for knowledge, in much more depth than what her race could provide. So, Ceara went to seek wisdom elsewhere. Her first stop: the norn named Beigarth, a legendary smith who knew how to craft Deldrimor Steel - a metal that dwarves used to cast (before they died out). It is said that smiths that are able to use this metal are highly skilled, hence Ceara’s reason for meeting Beigarth. Ceara wanted to understand metal, so, where else better to learn than through the experience of an epic smith? After spending a winter understanding metal, Ceara moved onto studying weaponry and demolitions. The one to teach her was the charr Asagai, an expert sniper and demolitionist of the Iron Legion. Upon Ceara’s exit, Asagai cursed her and threatened to gut her. This left things uneasy between the two.
The three great colleges of Dynamics, Statics and Synergetics greatly interested Ceara, so she travelled to Rata Sum. Although the Dynamics and Statics colleges were easy for Ceara, she seemed to struggle finishing Synergetics at such a fast pace. It was the subject that most interested her, thus immersing her deeper and deeper the more she delved into her studies. Due to this, she quit college and went seeking knowledge from the Inquest regarding this. Although she sought the knowledge that she thirsted for, things didn’t go quite as planned. Ceara’s asura friend, Teyo, snuck into the Inquest archives. When Teyo was caught, she teleported away and left Ceara behind. This resulted in the wise sylvari being removed from Rata Sum, receiving no qualifications regarding her work. Strangely, this didn’t seem to bother her.
One of Ceara’s last interests was alchemy, which she discovered by visiting the Hylek. Although she was interested in this subject, it bored her. She felt that everything she was doing could have been achieved during her time at The Grove. So, the alchemy wasn’t as fulfilling as Ceara had imagined.
This is when Professor Omadd, Headmaster Emeritus of the College of Synergetics, found Ceara. Her mentor offered the chance to explore the Eternal Alchemy. She agreed.
The Eternal Alchemy
After months of preparation, Omadd had finally finished setting up the experiment for Ceara to enter the Eternal Alchemy. For this to be completed, Ceara would have to enter the isolation module that was prepared for her. The way Omadd thought this to be possible was by shutting down the mind’s security system, opening it to the truths of the Eternal Alchemy.
Once inside the chamber, Ceara saw what she believed to be the Eternal Alchemy. She saw Tyria, the Mists, the sylvari, the Nightmare Court and more. Upon delving deeper into the vision that Ceara saw, she heard a voice. It was the voice of the Pale Tree, begging her to not go any further. The Pale Tree displayed itself to Ceara, being strangled by a dusty-red, barbed briar portraying the betrayal of Ceara’s actions towards the Pale Tree. Without hesitation, she traversed deeper into the Alchemy. It is unclear what Ceara saw beyond this point. There is one thing for certain though, whatever she saw as she gazed across the vast opening stared back at her. Whether this being is part of her imagination, or a real entity is unknown, but may have some influence towards her actions from here on out.
Emerging from the Alchemy, Ceara was gone. The sylvari that had awakened there was Scarlet Briar, derived from her visions of the red vines constricting the Mother Tree. She proclaimed, "Empires will fall, continents will burn, and when the conflagration is over, I'll be there to put my stamp on whatever new world this one becomes." Whatever it was that Ceara saw inside the Eternal Alchemy had completely destroyed her, driving her new incarnation insane. Omadd, her mentor, was the first to witness her rebirth; Scarlet strangled him to death with thorned vines that sprouted from her body.
Flame and Frost
Although Scarlet has yet to make her first appearance in this patch, she is still mentioned. Also, her involvement with the Molten Alliance is made clear later on in the living story. Using her persuasive skills, she was able to get both a faction of the Flame Legion and a faction of the dredge to join forces and work for her.
She told the Flame Legion that the dredge were ready to make weapons so that they could mutually benefit from each other; Scarlet later approached the dredge with the same story. The result was weapons that were part magic (from the Flame Legion) and part sonic (from the dredge). Later on, the technology evolved into the probes that are scattered around Tyria. The Molten Alliance gained new weapons, and Scarlet gained her new sonic technology.
Scarlet is mentioned when the player finishes the dungeon of Flame and Frost: Retribution, by a dredge locked in a cell:
"Yeah, the flaming cow pies and their fast-talking friend [Scarlet] from the city. Never again! Lying silver-tongued, snake-nosed trickster! Never again."
Sky Pirates of Tyria
Not much is known about the origin of the Aetherblades. What we do know is that Scarlet used her influence with the Inquest to make an airship based on the pact model, and began to work with pirates.
Scarlet then arranged for the murder of Theo Ashford so that Mai Trin could get a seat on the council. Had her plan been successful, then Scarlet would have had a political advantage in the city. Little did anyone know, even Scarlet, that there was a leyline located underneath the city and she would have to destroy Lion’s Arch regardless.
Furthermore, during Sky Pirates of Tyria, Mai Trin herself mentions Scarlet in a cutscene:
“This has all gone to crud. Scarlet's gonna have my noggin for screwing up.”
During the Queen's Jubilee, Queen Jennah created a small army of constructs based on the steam creatures that can be found mostly in Lornar’s Pass. Upon discovering this, Scarlet found a way to twist them under her control. This was also when Scarlet made her first appearance in the living Story.
After a failed attempt at kidnapping the queen, she locked herself up in the pavilion. She was able to kidnap Lord Faren as well as a few other emissaries, however. In this patch we were also introduced with the constant invasions from Scarlet’s minions throughout Tyria; Scarlet was coordinating them from inside the safety of the pavilion.
We also learned of the link between the Aetherblades and Molten Alliance, since we see them fighting alongside each other. After heading into the pavilion to stop Scarlet, Braham and Rox helped free the hostages and stop Scarlet. She reveals, however, that she was toying with everyone and disappears for several months.
Twilight Assault / Tower of Nightmares
Not much is known about how exactly Scarlet was able to get the Nightmare Court to work for her, however we learn that she was using Twilight Arbor as a personal lab and to produce airships. Caithe and the Lionguard joined forces to stop her, and in the process we learned that Scarlet knows secrets about Caithe that even Faolain doesn’t know.
After the Blood and Madness patch, we were introduced to the Tower of Nightmares. Here we saw that Scarlet was able to gain the favor of the krait and have them make an alliance with the Nightmare Court, creating the Toxic Alliance. Scarlet was somehow able to obtain some krait obelisks and with them, she was able to lead the krait into believing that she could bring back their prophet.
A large tower appeared in the middle of Kessex Hills, one that the Nightmare Court grew and with the help of the krait, they defended it while the Seraph guard, Priory, and Vigil worked on bringing it down. The Tower of Nightmares had introduced a toxin that Scarlet had created; this toxin was spread across Kessex Hills as well as fused into the bodies of krait. While the attack on the tower was taking place, Scarlet was working on making the toxin stronger and on the “prophet” of the krait. At the beginning the toxin was only able to create illusions and make people sick, however, once Marjory created the antitoxin, Scarlet used it to evolve the toxin into what we now know as the miasma.
Once the top of the tower was breached and the “prophet” was disposed of (which later turned out to be a krait mutated with the toxin), Scarlet escaped the tower and allowed the self destruct mechanism she had installed do the rest of the work.
Fractured! / Origins of Madness / Edge of the Mists
As we are given access to the new fractal of the Taumanova Reactor, we discover that Scarlet was working with the Inquest in order to find the leylines of dragon energy that were located underneath Tyria. We see that during the Christmas patch, a large amount of probes were placed all over Tyria, their purpose was to find an area where many leylines were intersecting. Evidently, that location was Lion’s Arch.
Now that Scarlet knew where to strike she just needed the right weapons. In the Origins of Madness we see Scarlet descending over Lornar’s Pass, with the giant marionette everyone is familiar with. Her goal here was to test out her cannon, which she later uses during the final fight. It is speculated however, that the giant marionette’s purpose was a test to make the Assault Knights.
Finally in Edge of the Mists, we see that Mai Trin escapes from Lion’s Arch and gathers her troops in the Edge of the Mists, preparing for the final battle.
Escape from Lion’s Arch / Battle for Lion’s Arch
Scarlet finally commences her assault from her airship known as the The Breachmaker and she rallies her troops and begins bombarding Lion’s Arch. While she clears out the city with her new miasma, her army begins to act as cannon fodder so her airship has sufficient time to drill into the city. Despite her efforts however, the heroes of Tyria were able to evacuate the city and begin their counter attack.
Moving forward with their offensive, The Breachmaker was successfully infiltrated. Scarlet was left to defend her airship as best as she could, however she was quickly overwhelmed and retreated to the control room of the drill. After one final battle Scarlet was finally defeated, and Lion’s Arch was safe once again, but it was too late. Scarlet had bought enough time for her drill, and she was able to breach through the leyline.The dragon energies were then disrupted and something was awakened.
Was Scarlet Really ‘Evil’?
Although Scarlet may have been seen as a villain by the majority of people, is it certain that she was truly ‘evil’? Sure, she had antagonised Tyria over the past year, but what was her reasoning for doing so? Thus far, nobody knows.
We do know that when she emerged from the Dream of Dreams, she was not at all evil, she just wanted to create her own path and not have it dictated to her by the Pale Tree. But, this could have all changed when entering the Eternal Alchemy. Although we don’t know for sure what Scarlet really saw inside that place, we were told that something was staring back at her. What could have this ‘something’ been?
Scarlet Briar’s Journal also seems to be relevant regarding this information:
"I wake from nightmares—screaming, confused, and scared. It's getting wOrse. I've decided to talk to a mender. I've probably just been working too hard.
Every night, the same terrors. It never changes. The mender was unable to help Me, and I feel like I'm losing control of myself.
When the nightmare starts, an entity calls to me. I run—run into a sea of dArkness. But no matter how hard I try to escape, it keeps calling me.
I'm trying not to sleep—too scareD to even close my eyes... So scared. Whispers come from the forest all night long, calling me, taunting me, possessing me.
Tonight, I saw it. I stared into the abyss, anD it stared back at me. So much power. I don't know what's real and what isn't anymore.
Control of my world, of myself, is slipping through my hands. And yet, I'm no longer scared.
It communicated with me through images of death, destruction, and destiny. I must know more. I must confront it and put an end to this madness."
After reading this, it almost made me feel sorry for Scarlet. If she had been going through this day in, day out, then it’s no wonder that her actions were a bit insane. The journal also adds to our knowledge about what she saw inside the Eternal Alchemy. The entity that she saw had ‘so much power’, which further suggests that it is an Elder Dragon, or a being of equal strength. Whatever it is, it had led Scarlet to the point of wanting to see it face to face. This can be viewed in various ways. Is it simply Scarlet’s curiosity that made her want to confront this being, or was the being manipulating Scarlet in order for it to be awakened?
All of this seemed a mystery, until one accessed the Marionette Control Panel during The Battle For Lion’s Arch Living World event. It read:
"It seems Scarlet wanted to disrupt the flow of magic. This is what captured the attention of the dragon we heard. Her goal, all along... was the dragon."
This pretty much proved that the entity she saw was an Elder Dragon, but which one? Well, the cutscene after Scarlet’s death showed this Dragon being awakened:
This is the Elder Jungle Dragon, Mordremoth. This is the entity that Scarlet saw in the Eternal Alchemy, in her nightmares, the one that she wanted to confront. Knowing that this dragon manipulated Scarlet, it really does take a lot of the blame off her. She was just the face behind all the destruction caused, but the one commanding her, was in fact, Mordremoth. Of course Scarlet is to blame for some part of it, considering she chose to follow Omadd’s experiment and enter the Eternal Alchemy. Should she have not gone through with that, would things have been different?