With the threat of destruction brought on by Grandfather Spider increasing with each reveal, I believe the end of the arc is imminent. I'll provide some evidence as to what Empyrea might look like and why I think it'll be the last world in the third arc.
If you're a regular at Swordroll's Blog, I'm going to assume you know the basics of Empyrea - it's a sky-based world much like something you might find in Pirate101. We've have multiple references to it including mentions of Sky Squids (that was while in Wysteria, I believe).
It makes perfect sense if you think about the meaning. "Empyrean" refers to the highest levels of heaven, made of pure light or fire. There are a couple of pieces of evidence pointing us to the fact that this might have some Greek background to it, namely that the word came from the Ancient Greek "empyrus." We also saw Sky Squids in Pirate101's Aquila, which is heavily themed in Greek mythology, and those same creatures are said to be in Empyrea.
Arcanum Scholar Secrets
In every world so far, we've had a scholar who originates there and the spell for that school has been that scholar. While Empyrea may have some focus on Greek mythology, I believe the emphasis will be more heavily on light and heaven themes. Let's look at who's who in the Arcanum and which scholar might take us to Empyrea.
- Myth - Baba Yaga - Polaris
- Death - Qismah Shasa - Mirage
- Ice - Tarrak Hadfield - Polaris
- Life - Zander - Wallaru
- Balance - Jaki Whisperwind - [Home World Unconfirmed] - Wallaru?
- Fire - Ignus Ferric - [Home World Unconfirmed] - My guess is Yago
- Storm - Ione Virga - [Home World Unconfirmed] - Empyrea?
We've been dealing with Ione pretty actively in the story, just as we did with the Desert Star and Qismah in Polaris. This may be a foreshadowing of Ione being our guide to Empyrea. If some of my other Empyrea theories are correct, she'll be the perfect candidate.
She has a lightning bolt across one eye. There are four pictures hanging in her office, and in most cases, scholars have images of their home worlds. I originally thought two were Mirage, but it appears they all four may be Empyrea. One is shown up top and another near the end. One very clearly has some sort of swirling, lightning vortex of doom. That's a match, right?
Ancient Beings & The Luphilim
Grandmother Raven uses magical beings to store information. We met the Auroracle in Polaris in the Sunless Shrine and the Chronocle in Mirage in the Timeless Tower. I'm sure there will be another being in Empyrea as well. To safeguard the past two, she's used the Luphilim, but where do they come from? My guess is Empyrea - some of the core remnants of the First World after it was shattered by the Titans.
Both the Auroracle and Chronocle said some confusing things, but I believe they support this theory. Let's take a look, starting with the Auroracle:
- "That which was frozen in Time, and in our Hearts, flows again."
- "After, it soon is only a matter of Time. When the Sand settles, the Spiral shall end as it began... with a broken Heart."
- "Should the Moment rise, the Sundering shall be stopped, and the Hastening shall be slowed."
Wizard101 personifies a lot of different elements and moments here. Let's break it down. Sundering is The Rat's attempt to rip the Land from the Sky by destroying the Sky Anchor. Hastening is Grandfather Spider's attempt to rush the Spiral's doom (it's doomed either way) and start again. Time is the Chronocle and matters in Mirage. The Moment refers to the thwarting of Rat's plan in this case. Hearts have to do with the final leg of the story - Empyrea and the Chaos Heart. For me, this is a big indication that the end of the arc is coming. The order is a matter of Time (Mirage). Then "when the Sand settles," we reach the end - again, dealing with the Chaos Heart.
Now, the Chronocle:
- "The Sundering was stopped but the Matter of Sand remains unsettled."
- "The Sand may stay unsettled, but without the Heart, the Spiral's expiration is assured."
We can now confirm Sundering's meaning. We know Matter of Sand is our thwarting of Spider's attempt with Scorpion to reverse the Sands of Time. However, it did indeed "remain unsettled" after we set the sands right. Now, the final bit - the Heart.
Last Child of Shadow
It's only natural that Empyrea is next in Grandfather Spider's Khrysalis lineup, and that means one more child of shadow: The Bat. The perfect fit for Empyrea, The Bat is "a brilliant shapeshifting Vampire, a master of illusion and subterfuge, and with a heart as black as night." My guess for The Bat is Sandiago. Yes, it's an out-there kind of theory, but hear me out. Sandiago is dressed in black and dark colors, which means he has to be a villain, right? More than that, he's secretly called The Alchemist, though he doesn't want it known in public. The Scorpion was also supposed to be a master alchemist, but we didn't see much of that. Now, a brilliant shapeshifting vampire? It has to be the wise old nomad Sandiago. Just read his wild exit scene:
- "Strangely enough, it seems The Alchemist, Sandiago, is nowhere to be found. Perhaps you should ask Burdie where he went."
- "Oh? You're looking for Sandiago? Now where did that Tired Nomad get off to? Oh yes! He said he had some wandering to do, but he left a message."
- "He said to thank you for helping with something... something time-consuming, I think. But he wanted to express his gratitude."
He mysteriously leaves, had an odd secret name which serves no plot purpose, and gives an eerie thank you for helping with some time matters before he even knows you stopped the Sands of Time. He's screaming to be a villain of some kind.
I think Empyrea will be structured much like Mirage - we go, work to stop whatever scheme The Bat has worked up, then realize Grandfather Spider has a larger plan to reclaim his Chaos Heart from the vortex, and go and stop him along with his three children in a final battle.
The Chaos Heart
All of the ancient beings indicate that the next step is the Heart. If you don't know about the Chaos Heart, you can read more in my Ten Big Mirage Reveals post. I believe this is contained within the Chaos Vortex pictured in the first image that hangs in Ione's office. Because I believe Empyrea is the home of the Chaos Heart, that's what also makes me thing it's one of the core pieces of the First World, along with the fact that the name suggests something heavenly.
It also, then, makes perfect sense for this to be the home of the Luphilim, who safeguard things according to Grandmother Raven's will, and look after the Heart there. Additionally, I believe that the fact Ione is from this world is a good indicator of why she has been the most active in looking out for the Cabal and knows everything she does.
With Mellori, a daughter of Grandmother Raven, now in his possession, Spider likely possesses the required knowledge to get to Empyrea and reclaim the Chaos Heart, and Grandmother Raven, which a mortal enemy on the loose and her child now in danger, will be furious.
A Game of Cards
That's already plenty of reasons for me to believe Empyrea is the last world in the third arc, which I really don't mind. (I would be fine with anywhere from 3-5. Maybe we'll see some new side worlds after this?) Here's one more, though - pacing. If you recall in both arcs one and two, we meet the villain in world 1 (the first world of the arc). Malistaire is the tutorial, and Morganthe is in the Trial of the Spheres. Then we usually see them again, this time a little closer up - we chase Malistaire with Meowiarty and run into him three times in Marleybone and meet Morganthe a whopping eleven times before the final fight, not including the initial reveal in Celestia. But never do we fight them until the finale.
We've already battled Grandfather Spider, along with two of his children now. That's already a step further than any arc has gone previously, and we've run into him multiple times since we first freed him in Khrysalis. How could KingsIsle now possibly step up their game? First in Polaris we get a big reveal and a cutscene. KingsIsle then knew that it'd be too predictable in Mirage to just track down and fight the Scorpion, who everyone picked out of the first piece of concept art that hit the waves on KI Live, so they overshadowed it with a big Grandfather Spider battle... and a Chaos Heart reveal, and a Gandmother Raven scolding, and a Mellori-getting-captured moment, and more. How could they possibly top that with just The Bat? No, this must surely be the finale. The cards are on the table now.
Hidden Lands & Broken Shores
The obvious remaining question is that if Empyrea is the last world, what happened to the Hidden Lands and Broken Shores Grandfather Spider mentioned at the end of Khrysalis? Let's go back to that quote one more time.
- "Fly through the Spiral, to Polaris, Empyrea, and Mirage, to the Hidden Lands and Broken Shores."
He does include "Hidden Lands" and "Broken Shores" in his list, he ends it with Mirage and adds the last bit on. I think Mirage is the Hidden Lands and Empyrea the Broken Shores. Mirage is shrouded in mystery with a Spiral door that was lost in the sands. Many of your alliances are false and there are plenty of secrets within. In fact, for a location with eleven mapped zones, having only five on the world map makes much of it pretty hidden. Empyrea also fits the Broken Shores idea perfectly. Wizard worlds are typically one big landmass, but Empyrea seems to be broken up into fragments and shards from the warring titans.
Together, I think all of these things are a pretty strong indicator that Empyrea will be the next and final world in the third arc, but nothing is ever for sure. We have spent a lot of this arc thinking we knew exactly what was coming and ran into plenty of surprises. If it isn't the end of the arc, it'll certainly be a major turning point, and there will have to be something yet unforeseen that shakes things up even further.
Do you think Empyrea will be the last world in the third arc?
Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral! Credits: Thanks to Jule for the correction on the Jackie/Zander home world flip flop.