Fort Tarsis—a small walled town named after the savior of mankind, General Helena Tarsis; a beacon of hope whose spires are visible to lancers far away in the dangerous wilderness; the current northern-most settlement of Bastion—wasn’t always the lively hub with vibrant people like it is today. What if I told you the fort was going to be dull and gray? What if I told you the fort would have been expanded into a large city? What if I told the fort has endured numerous catastrophes? This is a chronicle of how our home, Fort Tarsis, came to be.
During the time of the Legion of Dawn, several watchtowers were built to be on the lookout for Urgoth activity. One of these watchtowers was built over the Tarsis Bypass, but abandoned eventually when the Legion divided into three factions. But Liatrelle, General Tarsis’ best friend had all the intention of keeping the memories of this watchtower intact—Liatrelle built a tomb for Yvenia the Forgewright, so that she would be a foundation to the tower, just like she was to the Legion.
When Bastion grew prosperous, a decision was made to build a settlement in the place of the old Legion watchtower by the royalty in Antium—they decided to name it after the woman who sacrificed her life for their future. During construction, the founders wanted the fort to have spires like Freemark. They also insisted on using white stone instead of the commonly available gray. This meant the construction materials had to be outsourced from distant places, much to the dismay of the architects and engineers. In fact, an entire strider was repurposed to build the Memorial Gate for the fort! When the sublime silver spires of Fort Tarsis rose amid the viridescent jungle, people believed them to be a beacon of hope. Even today—the year 468 L.V.—the spires can be seen from as far as the Great Falls Canyon, guiding lancers and striders.
Initially, the fort was a military outpost, providing rest to travelers and armed forces journeying between the cities of Antium, Freemark, and Heliost. During early years of 400 L.V., Fort Tarsis' population grew, so the then Governor Tanner and associates planned for agriculture by building the Honor Valley Dam. Sentinel towers were constructed around the Crop Terraces to keep the farmers safe from dangerous fauna. The leaders then sought permission from the royal family to expand the fort all the way into the First Refuge in the Academy ruins. A radio tower was set up for communication, foundations were dug, resources were transported, and everything was going according to plan. But then, in the year 413 L.V., they arrived—those foul creatures who could shapeshift into any one of us within moments of proximity—the Scars.
The Scars were a new kind of enemy—invasive and immortal, a dangerous combination. Each individual Scar was a colony of numerous insects morphing into the most dominant species of a land, copying everything they do, competing; a utilitarian society that scrapped anything and everything for unknown purposes. Until these creatures were fended off, it would become impossible to expand the fort. And to this day, the expansion project hasn’t been continued.
When the Scar colonies grew, they took over several districts of Northern Bastion—they were here to stay. At this point, they not only claimed the resources, but also began attacking us humans. Around this time, near the Convector Henge, came out a new kind of Scar, with technology built into its ‘skull’—the first Luminary Junkhead, they called it. Unlike the others, it was intelligent and interested in expansion. With the efforts of the brave lancers, it was defeated. But with this came another battle, the largest one with the Scars yet. This Battle for the Crop Terraces came with huge casualties—all farming attempts were foiled. But with the aid from Antium, we won!
Even though these attempts to thwart Scar population were numerous, there has been at least one time when it grew out of hand. Seven Luminaries once tried to invade Fort Tarsis. These monstrous war machines smashed the white walls of Fort Tarsis for ten days and ten nights. Sentinels and Freelancers alike, fought them and their minions. Civilians were taken to safety inside the fort’s prison. The fort was victorious, but its people realized that each dead Scar was not truly dead—it dispersed into innumerable individual insects who returned to their hives. The people also gathered Scar technologies using which, Arcanists came up with new ways of tackling the enemies, thus helping the lancers and Cyphers on duty. This was the time when it was decided to halt all expansion projects until the Scars were dealt with, and to make sure the scar population was contained. For if a Scar colony grew, it would become intelligent, and strategize additional onslaughts on humans—therefore Scars must be defeated on sight when outside the walls.
The Scars aren’t the only threat that Fort Tarsis has encountered. When the Hesperian Serpent emerged from the darkest regions of the open sea, it sent out choking clouds of brine and decayed the surrounding lifeforms. Consequently, the people in the fort’s market felt tremors from the far away region. The fort’s walls were strong and protected its citizens. Several monstrous Titans marched through the green forests attempting to cause havoc on the civilians. But the fort was prepared, and its lancers put up a good fight and defended the settlement. At one point in time, a cataclysm brought forth a beautiful lavender colored snowfall to the fort. But cataclysms being cataclysms, the snow actually burned the people and objects coming in its contact. Sentinels set up fire watches to patrol and put the fire out. Recently, a wyvern attempted to roost atop one of the spires. It landed in the fort courtyard when it couldn’t migrate because of the natural ripstreams. Our sentinels were quick to take action, but the courtyard was damaged.
Speaking of fire in courtyards, this year, the green mist of unknown composition used as a decoration while celebrating the Season of Skulls, started a fire in the courtyard. Fortunately, the Sentinels and the fort custodian made sure everyone was safe and sound. In fact, our resident bard dramatized this tale along with others, to the folks in Antium, causing him to win the Top Dramatist in Bastion!
The world of Coda itself seems to stand in the way of Fort Tarsis. Unknowingly, when the fort was built, there was a sinkhole under it—something the people weren’t aware of at the time. They wanted a settlement to inspire people and preserve the Legion’s history. But parts of the fort collapsed into the sinkhole. When that happened, Arcanist Neth Stelus built seismic activity monitoring underground beacons and planted them around the fort’s underground perimeter. To this day, Arcanists perform routine checks with the help of Freelancers and Sentinels to monitor the strength of the foundation. The most recent check was performed with the aid of the Hero of Fort Tarsis—the Freelancer who silenced the Heart of Rage.
One of the most significant and amicable things Fort Tarsis has done is welcoming all kinds of people anytime! When Freemark was destroyed, the survivors were taken into the fort. When the Shadow Lock was breached and Shadowmark began to sink, its residents were granted refuge inside the fort. When Skystone Lock was captured by the Scars, everyone who worked there was evacuated to the fort.
The experiences of Fort Tarsis and its residents can only be described as a clamoring yet melodious orchestra. The fort has endured many hardships, but time and time again it has proven to be adamantine—just like General Tarsis—in keeping its stalwart people safe and determined. The good people of Fort Tarsis will not let it fall. We celebrate festivities, decorate the fort, and appreciate its simplicity. As a matter of fact, we memorialize the Founding of Fort Tarsis each year when spring arrives. The Freelancers have recently joined hands with the Sentinels and Arcanists to build a monument to the General inside the fort, after nearly 500 years of her altruistic sacrifice!
Fort Tarsis stands proud and tall as a symbol of how far humanity has come. And now, it represents what General Tarsis’ legacy is going to be. Fort Tarsis is a tried and trusted place, and most importantly, our home.
• Coiled Storm: Firsthand Accounts of the Hesperian Serpent by Mentor Kurcer Attjax
• Fire Walkers: March of the Titans by Commander Rann
• Warhive: The Siege of Fort Tarsis by Madam Chronicler
• The Early March: The Settlement of Bastion by Arcanist Elsin
• History of Scars by Hanni Blythe
• Sentinel Derian Barr’s Patrol Report
• Stories of the Trophies inside the Fort Tarsis Freelancer Enclave
• Ft. Tarsis Times