The Totem Axe:Treasures of the Jungle
Many fortune seekers, adventurers, and brave soldiers have been making their way to the farthest corner of the Maguuma Jungle in search of a new weapon called the Totem Axe. I started hearing reports of this weapon a few weeks ago, and just recently made the journey myself to confirm the rumors. While I was not lucky enough to come across a Totem Axe, they are reported to be both very effective and quite valuable, which accounts for the large flock of soldiers and treasure seekers hoping to attain them.

The Journey to reach the Totem Axe is riddled with danger which is of no surprise to anyone familiar with the Maguuma Jungle. The best location from which to start is Ventari's Refuge since—due to Ventari's mandate—the conflict that is raging in the surrounding area does not enter his sanctuary. The wise Centaur's haven is the last beacon of safety before miles of danger, so you would be wise to prepare yourself accordingly.

Upon leaving Ventari's Refuge, you must make your way southwest toward the Reed Bog. Along the way you will be harassed by a variety of Maguuma Centaurs, but they should not pose too serious a threat to a strong party. The Reed Bog itself contains many Jungle Trolls and Moss Scarabs that will present a considerable threat to less experienced fighters but, again, they should not trouble a more battle-hardened force. Nonetheless, much care should be taken in this area.

After traversing the Reed Bog—continuing on your southwest path—you will reach The Falls. Your reward is closer than ever, though the resistance you encounter becomes much fiercer. This dense jungle is teeming with Maguuma Spiders, Redwood Shepherds, Wind Riders, and Jungle Skales that will attack any who dare disturb their home. Few men venture this deeply into the jungle, so the flesh of humans is a delicacy these beasts seldom forego. Along the path you will pass a Temple of Balthazar hidden amongst the dense vines. You would be wise to pay homage to the god of war in hopes he gives you the strength to survive the onslaught of beasts yet to come.

Your goal is to reach a well-hidden area near the northwest corner of the falls. Here you will find the dreaded Root Behemoths that are reported to occasionally contain a Totem Axe inside their armored bodies. How the Behemoths came into possession of these axes is unclear, though many suspect the original wielders of the weapons were swallowed whole by the beasts. With luck—and considerable skill—you should be able to best many of the Root Behemoths in the area and, if you are fortunate, one will contain the treasure you seek.

The trek is not an easy one, but the reward is well worth it; that is, of course, if you survive to claim it. The Maguuma Jungle is notorious for its dangers and its maze-like pathways, so you would be wise to find a guide before undertaking this quest. May Dwayna light your way as you descend into the darkness of the Maguuma Jungle.

Balthazar Blesses Arena Combatants

Gladiators near and far, sharpen your swords, ready your bows, and prepare your magic! I have it on good authority that before the next rising sun, those who compete in Arena combat will receive much larger rewards than usual. Many who have heard of these special blessings are beginning to prepare by acquiring a new skills, purchasing the finest weaponry, and practicing their gladiatorial combat skills on the Battle Isles. Those with less experience fighting in the arenas would be wise to practice now, rather than waiting for the event to start.

According to my information, those who battle in either the Random Arena or the Team Arena will receive double Faction as a blessing from Balthazar—the god of war—for feats achieved in the arenas. This blessing will be rewarded for individual kills, each victory you or your party achieves, and for any flawless victories you accomplish. Balthazar's lust for war is legendary, so his sudden interest in Arena combat is of no surprise to those familiar with his teachings.

In addition to the increased Faction blessing from Balthazar, those attempting to gain the official title of Gladiator will also experience additional rewards. Rather than the typical one point awarded toward Gladiator titles per ten Arena wins, combatants will now receive two points per ten wins. If you wish to bear the title of Gladiator, this weekend would be a great time to work toward that noble goal.

The increase in reward will no doubt raise the level of competition in the Arenas. Many who are normally preoccupied—either with guild battles, the war between the Luxons and Kurzicks, or elsewhere—will no doubt make their way to the Arenas to vie for these increased rewards. Care should be taken by the less experienced, for the competition will no doubt be formidable. On the other hand, what better time to learn and hone one's combat skills than during a period of increased Arena competition?

I am sure this weekend will leave Balthazar most pleased. May Dwayna protect those who join in the combat, and may Balthazar fill them with the strength to achieve victory!

Random Acts of Kindness

I spent much of this week returning to my sanctuary in the Shing Jea Monastery after an enlightening stay in the Serenity Temple. Along my way I witnessed many acts of kindness, and was sure to take note.

Before leaving the continent of Tyria, I made a brief stop in Ascalon City. There I saw a Necromancer named Scrawny Paleman offering to aid adventurers on any quests or assignments they had been given. The war with the Charr has killed many Ascalon Army commanders, and thus has left many new soldiers to fend for themselves. Helping these confused recruits find their way will ensure many victories to come!

After returning to Cantha and my sacred Monastery, I witnessed even more kind acts. Elementalz God was the first to catch my eye, offering to give away a free belt pouch to anyone who needed one. While it is not an expensive gift to offer, This was a fine display of generosity, and proof that it does not require much to help each other—just a kind heart.

Shortly after seeing that fine display of kindness, I witnessed the kindest act I have seen in quite some time. Shortly before Imperial Supply Master Kagno was scheduled to depart Shing Jea Monastery, many adventurers were scrambling to procure sufficient Jade Essence Orbs to exchange for their dragon masks—that most treasured memento of the Dragon Festival. As if sent by Dwayna herself, Bruver Marauder began handing out the highly-desired orbs—hundreds at a time, and at no charge. This kind soul must have given away more than 4,000 orbs to Canthan residents before finally reducing the supply he and his guild had acquired during the Dragon Festival.

Thank you to all—both those listed and those not mentioned—who help make our world brighter. May Dwayna smile upon you and bless you for your generosity.