Path of Exile December Events and Lore Q&A, Part 2

Path of Exile’s upcoming challenge league expansion was recently delayed to January. But while the developers are working on this new expansion, you’ll still be able to get your hands on some fresh Path of Exile content thanks to a series of special events throughout December. These include a week of Mayhem, an Endless Delve event, and a Flashback event. You can read all about them over here.

And here’s just the schedule:

This December, we've lined up three epic events for Path of Exile players to test themselves against. We've planned a one-week Mayhem Event, a one-week Endless Delve Event and a three-week Heist Flashback Event to keep the slaybells ringing during the holiday period in the lead-up to our endgame expansion in January. Please find our schedule below for our most important upcoming dates.

Dates In US/EU Timezone
  • Dec 4 - One-Week Mayhem
  • Dec 11 - One-Week Endless Delve
  • Dec 18 - Three-Week Heist Flashback
  • Jan 7 - 3.13 Announcement Livestream
  • Jan 11 - Heist Ends on PC
  • Jan 15 - 3.13 PC Launch
  • Jan 21 - 3.13 Console Launch

Beyond that, you can now read the second part of the official lore Q&A (check out the first part). Have a look:

We're continuing to share bits and pieces of Path of Exile's world. Check out the first batch of lore questions and answers here. We hope all the lore fans will find this news post interesting. Enjoy!

Why did Grigor try to enter the Temple of Solaris? What did he want to do with remnants of the Gemling Queen? Why did he ask Exile to destroy these remnants?
Grigor tried to enter the Temple of Solaris to find the remains of the Gemling Queen. He did this because of an ode, Of Jewels and Eternity. Grigor regarded her as ‘the enigma behind the fall of the Ezomytes and the Eternals both’ as well as ‘a living embodiment of the cataclysm.’ He initially wanted the Exile to destroy the remnants to keep Piety from getting them for her research, but once he found out the Gemling Queen was still alive, he seemed quite concerned for her safety from the Ebony Legion. I believe he regarded her as a crucial part of his own tale as an Ezomyte and as a gemling (Piety put a gem in his vital organs). In essence, this was a search for answers.

Clarissa: "...Vinia sold her thaumaturgy in the day, her body at night. Sought after, she was. Enough so to become one of my best buyers..." Why was Piety one of Clarissa's best buyers? Did Clarissa sell something special that Piety needed?
Clarissa sells gems, flasks, and other mystical devices. In Oriath, some of that - especially the gems - was illegal. She likely got into that business after her father lost all the family’s money to gambling and they were forced to move. From there, Hargan started helping take care of her, so his underground business contacts probably got Clarissa into selling illegal items to make ends meet.

Vinia dabbled in thaumaturgy, and purchased such things from Clarissa, since they were difficult to obtain. As Vinia’s skill with thaumaturgy grew, so too did her need for reagents and components.

What are the reasons behind Clarissa's and Hargan's exile?
Clarissa doesn’t discuss why she was exiled, but it probably had something to do with her affiliation with Vinia and the selling of illegal thaumaturgical items. Clarissa was aware of her ‘buyer’s’ use of thaumaturgy. Once Vinia became Piety, Clarissa was likely exiled as a way to get rid of any loose ends. Indeed, many references point to Dominus exiling anyone who posed even the slightest threat to his plans.

Hargan became Clarissa’s guardian in Oriath after her father lost all the family money gambling. While Hargan is clearly willing to get involved in looting antiquities and other shady business dealings, no one is quite sure why he was exiled. Personally, I believe he was never actually exiled, but left Oriath of his own accord to continue watching out for Clarissa. He’ll deny it, of course, to maintain his image.

Was the Vaal pyramid underground all the time and arose only when the Darkness was destroyed?
Yes. The pyramid rises and breaks out from under the ground after the Vaal Oversoul is destroyed. There is actually a drill at the top, so some ancient architect intended this structure to put on quite a show. One can imagine being a Vaal citizen and watching the sacrificial temple literally rise from the earth to block out the evening sun...

Did Dominus start to experiment with thaumaturgy only because of Piety?
It’s very difficult to determine this. Reviewing the testimony of the people the Exile met, Dominus ran many different projects in his pursuit of power. However, the timing does line up rather compellingly. It’s very possible that Piety, then Vinia, sold Dominus on a vision of power the night before she was to be burned at the stake. After Dominus met with her, she was pardoned, given a new name, and put in charge of grim research. Not too long after, mass exilings began, and Dominus directed Blackguard legions to Wraeclast - including Helena’s expedition.

When did Dominus start experimenting with thaumaturgy? Was it before he became the High Templar, after, or just recently?
Dominus has always been quite ambitious, and willing to violate the tenets of the Templar faith in secret to pursue power. Thaumaturgy was not fully on his radar before he became High Templar, however. His interests were elsewhere at that time...

So his research into Wraeclast could be described as recent. That interest was the impetus for the overzealous exiling trend. The people being exiled were sent to Wraeclast to be observed and experimented on in many different ways. Thus, the Exile’s story begins.

Could you elaborate more on the power of Innocence and the power of Beast? Why are they different, why couldn't Dominus wield the Sign of Purity?
Innocence derives power from Divinity, which comes from the power of believers and faith. There was a time long ago when anyone with enough followers could ascend to godhood, and that was when most of the gods we know, including Innocence, were created. Unfortunately, there seems to be a feedback cycle involved with Divinity, in which the image the leader projects informs what beliefs the followers imprint upon the leader, perpetuating an ongoing exaggeration of traits and desires. Sin retained his humanity, likely because Innocence had him vilified in the Templar religion rather than worshipped; as the gods became increasingly unstable, Sin decided to create the Beast, which feeds upon the energies of faith. The gods, denied the divine energies from their followers, went to sleep.

Unfortunately for everyone, the Beast didn’t just consume divine energies - the process of digesting it leaked its inverse, Corruption, as a form of waste. While divine energies are extremely ordered and focused, Corruption is inherently chaotic and maddening. Corruption bathed Wraeclast over the ages, irradiating the land with sinister energies. Eventually, some realized that this could offer an alternate route to power. The first ones who tried it were the Vaal, and that eventually led to their destruction. Thousands of years later, the Eternal Empire tried it, too, with similar disastrous results. Not learning from history, in modern times High Templar Dominus became obsessed with Corruption, spending all his resources to research it. He was eventually so steeped in Corruption that the Sign of Purity became anathema to him, for Divinity and Corruption are opposites.

For a bit of extra information on the question, this is the same general reason that people couldn’t become gods while the Beast was active. The best a person can hope for on Wraeclast is to remain neutral, unaffected by either. For example, one can be spared corrupted mutations if they inspire faith in those around them. That might be why the Exile remains human when so many others become abominations in proximity to Corruption. Wraeclast also has thousands of years of imbued Corruption that will continue to radiate for an unknown length of time, so the gods the Exile encountered in Acts 5 through 10 were much weaker than they were in the past.

How many years has Dominus been the High Templar? When did Avarius become the High Templar?
Dominus took over as High Templar after Venarius’ disappearance. That event occurred when Zana was a child, so we can guess that Dominus was the High Templar for two or three decades. We can’t be more specific because Zana won’t tell us her age (and it'd be rude to ask!).

Avarius became the High Templar some time after Dominus is slain in Act 3. It is likely there was a period of contention over power, because Avarius only truly rose to prominence once the Beast was slain in Act 4 and Innocence awoke and possessed him. That means Avarius was only High Templar for a very short time, relatively speaking, before the Exile comes along and destroys him, too.

Is it possible that Piety learned lightning spells from Shavronne and cold/fire spells from Lunaris/Solaris respectively? Or was it more of a 'common knowledge' that doesn't come from the gods?
Thaumaturgy comes from virtue gems. Piety had a Ball Lightning gem, an Ice Shot gem linked to a Multiple Projectiles support, and a fire melee gem of some sort. Her blood minion summoning and her transformations, on the other hand, were proto-Corruption abilities learned from her horrible experiments on the victims in the Lunaris Temple. Steeped in Corruption as she was, she could not have employed any divine abilities.