The exterior takes the form of a large, underwater rock formation jutting from the seafloor with coral grown into the sides and kelp growing in the plateau below the colossal spire. Various pieces of Ancient stone architecture, mostly pillars, are scattered among the seafloor around the structure. A shipwreck torn in two lay near the entrance of the Shrine, full of crates of compasses, spyglasses, and other mapping tools as well as what appear to be the various lifeless corpses of drowned conquistadors.
Stepping inside, pirates will come into a chamber at the top of the Shrine with a Siren Statue on one side of the room and a hole leading down. Above the coral platforms descending into the central chamber, there is the body of a conquistador entangled in rope carrying a still-burning lantern.
The central chamber is a nigh perfectly preserved Ancient labyrinth, with various doors to open and puzzles to solve. To the East on the bottommost level of the Shrine is a large, sealed Ancient door that can only be opened via The Legend of the Sunken Kingdom quest purchased from Larinna after collecting each journal. The water level in the pool in the centre of the Shrine can be lowered by taking the ladder to the top of the right staircase in the central chamber and manoeuvring using the outer wall and coral platforms to the opposite side of the central chamber's upper levels. There will be a switch with a drawing of a circle and waves on the floor, and this lowers the water level for players to jump into the central pool. The chamber on the upper level can be opened by lighting the torches on all four corners of the central chamber and running on all the pressure plates within a time limit. It will open a throne room with more torches, which can be lit to open a labyrinth to the West. Within this labyrinth lies four puzzles. A chamber in the centre will house four pillars with the visage of a butterfly, turtle, eagle, and crab with torches on the top. This puzzle must be completed by running through the halls of each part of the labyrinth, lighting each torch on the path, and flipping a series of switches (some of which are hidden by pressure plates) within a time limit to light each torch, Once each torch in the central room of the labyrinth has been lit, and each series of switches flipped, a vault will open that gives way to a haul of Coral Treasure.
There are 5 journals scattered throughout the Shrine, written by Umbra.
1. Shrine Ancient Tears
(On the right of a stone table to the right of the central water pool.)
I've explored many bizarre and interesting places in my time, but this has to be my favourite! Beautiful waterfalls, areas hidden away until you drain water from them, ancient doorways that open when you light torches, I love it! But this place has left me with so many questions. Who collected the skulls? Why is this ancient building deep beneath the waves? And most importantly of all, where is the key for that triangular lock - and what's inside?
2. Strange Tales
(On a table at the bottom of the central pit.)
I thought I knew all there was to know about the merfolk, but after visiting the Shrine I felt like I was missing something. A part of their story that might explain this strange place. So I asked around. That's when tales of ships being dragged below by creatures that looked like the merfolk started to surface. I couldn't believe my ears, the merfolk wouldn't act this way. What on the seas could be happening? I spoke to every pirate who knew anything and they all told the same tale: a terrible scratching on their hulls and the sound of a sad voice on the wind.
3. Return of the Silver Blade
(In an enclosed area opposite the treasure vault in the Turtle Hallway.)
There was one story that really interested me though, tales of the Silver Blade being seen on the Sea of Thieves once more, with a new Captain. There were rumours that this Captain, a man by the name of Dimitri, discovered a long-forgotten Ancient Vault that contained a chest. A chest that wept. One pirate named it the Chest of Everlasting Sorrow, which seems fitting, as those that come in contact with it seem to have nothing but sorrow. Dimitri, his whole crew and the Silver Blade have not been seen for months. I wonder what happened to them.
4. Fate of the Silver Blade
(On the left of the Crab Pillar behind the door to the West of the main chamber.)
It took some time, a lot of persuasion and following threads to loose ends but I finally got the answers I was seeking. Since I last wrote, I have discovered this new type of merfolk are called Sirens and that they have a dark and complicated past. The chest that Dimitri found contains the soul of their King, which must mean the Silver Blade was dragged below. I can only hope some of the crew survived. The Sirens have been sleeping, for how long I cannot tell, but something has awoken them - and their Queen still rages for her lost love, who is forever just out of reach within this chest.
5. The Chest of Everlasting Sorrow
(On a barrel to the right of the room, which is East of the central chamber.)
Despite all powerful magic and minions, the Sea Queen has been unable to free her King from the Chest of Everlasting Sorrow. The combined power of the Ancients and the merfolk who locked him away has proven too much for her. Driven mad by the constant cries of her love, she has locked the chest away. I finally know the fate of the Silver Blade and my hopes for the crew have been dashed. The Queen has turned it into a shrine for The Chest of Everlasting Sorrow, deep within her Sunken Kingdom. She will never forgive humans for what they did to her. All who sail the Sea of Thieves will feel her wrath.
The Shrine of Ancient Tears houses a plethora of lore on the Ancient people, the Merfolk, and the Sirens.
In Ancient times, the Shrine of Ancient Tears was a place of reverence, where the Mer and Ancients would come to commune and hold meetings on various matters. The temple was once entirely above water, with the central chamber being at sea level for the Merfolk to come and commune with their landbound friends.
There was an assembly in the bowels of the temple on the eve of the Whispering Plague's outbreak, the contents of which remain unknown. However, it appears that the decision to divide the Merfolk and Sirens, as well as the decision to exile the Sirens, took place in this very temple. The Sirens were embittered by the treatment the Ancients and Mer directed at them, and when they found their voices once more, they sang a song of all they had lost, all their sorrows. Sorrow turned to righteous fury, and galvanised the Sirens to war.
The Ancients were content to leave the Mer to fend for themselves, but the chaining of the Old Mother, who the Sirens worshipped heavily, saw the Ancients get entangled in the war despite their efforts to avoid it. The Sirens launched attacks on the Ancients and Merfolk, neither of which could fight back due to how deadly the Sirens could be; a single scratch could transfer the plague to a Merfolk, and being dragged below for an Ancient meant either death or the fate of having their very body, mind and soul warped beyond recognition into a monstrous Ocean Crawler. The Ancients were a scholarly people with few soldiers, and as such, they were especially defenceless. However, one among them, a female Warrior of The Ancient Isles, trudged into the inky depths and pledged to put an end to the war. The warrior was successful, and forced the Sirens into slumber.
However, the mages among her people realised her grave sacrifice; she returned with a terrible curse placed by Sirens, and would inevitably and shortly die. The Ancients inhabiting the temple, helpless to do anything else, entombed her remains in the Eastern chamber and marked the location as a monument to her great sacrifice. After this, the remaining Ancients, whether it be due to the loss of their greatest warrior, the inevitability of the Sirens' awakening, or the realisation of just how dangerous the seas were, decided to leave the Sea of Thieves, where they remain lost today. At some unknown point in time, the Siren Queen pulled the structure into the abyss and made it a shrine for her love's ever-grieving soul.
To save pirates from needing to take their new-found treasure all the way back up the surface, up to 20 loot pieces can be stored in friendly Mermaid Statues found along the way. Any Coral Treasure Chests filled with three loot items count as a single loot item, saving up space for the other Treasure items to be stored in the statues. Any Treasure left with the statues can be redeemed back on the surface from a friendly mermaid with a shell, emitting purple smoke. When interacted with, any treasure collected will float up to the surface and the mermaid depart.
The entombed remains of the Warrior of The Ancient Isles (not to be confused with the Warrior constellation or The Warrior, the person the constellation is attributed to), has a mural above them that closely resembles one on Discovery Ridge, depicting the Siren Queen dragging Ancients below in the heat of a raging war.
While the butterfly symbol is unknown in its meaning, the other figures shown in the labyrinth seem to make reference to the history of both the Merfolk and the Ancients, fitting in the theme of the Shrine as being a place where two cultures would come to convene; the Patient Turtle was the oldest creature on the Sea of Thieves, who raised the lands the Ancients lived on and the lands we sail today, the Courting Crab loved the Sea Queen and defended her beaches covetously, and the Eagle is an important figure to the Ancients, the one who never landed and whose feathers acted as a fletch for The Warrior's Obsidian Arrow. These symbols also appear on the surrounding islands, most notably Thieves' Haven.
The Shrine of Ancient Tribute was originally a land-based structure. It sank into the sea due to an unknown catastrophe, and was quickly claimed by the Sirens.