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The Ancients were the native inhabitants of the Sea of Thieves who mysteriously disappeared long before pirates first broke through The Devil's Shroud. They are responsible for many of the rock paintings and stone ruins found scattered across islands and below the sea. They were responsible for summoning the Megalodons, and constructed most of the large stone structures, as well as the ancient vaults found across the Sea of Thieves.
Most of our knowledge of the Ancients comes from their recorded history and the Merfolk, interpreted by the likes of Sudds, Mercia, and other Pirate scholars. Structures built by the Ancients with paintings detailing stories can be found all across The Sea of Thieves, especially in the Sunken Kingdom where their structures are now inhabited by Sirens.
The Ancients were seafaring people similar to real-life ancient Mayan and Hawaiian seafaring people. They were tribal and at one point in time incredibly warlike conquering most of the Sea of thieves. They created an empire that spanned from Ashen Reaches to Crescent Isle. However over time their attitude changed to more of a peaceful one abandoning rituals of human sacrifice which may have been common. With no threats within the Devil's Shroud the ancients slowly began to forget and forsake their warrior roots and became more of a peaceful culture. The structure of their society is largely unknown, though it's believed an Ancient King existed and likely called Tribute Peak home. Priests played an important role in their society as well, carrying out important rituals and even on at least one occasion assassination on behalf of the Ancients. Beyond these figures of power, Warriors were also valued by Ancient society with multiple revered Ancient warriors depicted in text and paintings.
Their knowledge of the Sea extended to its magic as well, with their proficiency in the art still noticeable today in the form of powerful curses and artefacts. They're known to have created the Shroudbreaker and the Veil of the Ancients, two immensely powerful magical artefacts now sought after by Pirates. They also seem to be responsible for a number of curses laid upon pieces of treasure they wished to protect. The Ancients also had a written language, one that is now used by the skeletons. Hinting at a connection between the ancients and the skeleton curse through their use of Skeleton Runes.
The Ancients also maintained a diplomatic relationship with the Merfolk of the sea, going as far as constructing structures such as the Shrine of Ancient Tears as places to conduct diplomatic meetings between the two groups. Merfolk would bring the Ancients offerings of gold and jewels found on the seafloor, and in return the Ancients would use their fleets of ships and knowledge of magic to aid the Merfolk in times of need.
The Sunken Kingdom
The Ancients make frequent appearances in the numerous journals and notes scattered around the Siren Shrines, telling the story of The Great Warrior, who would later become the Siren King. The Ancients were strongly opposed to the union of The Great Warrior and the Sea Queen, believing that it would disrupt the balance that upheld the Sea of Thieves. Ignoring the warnings of the Ancients, the Great Warrior made use of the power of Mermaid Gems to become a Mer and join the Sea Queen as the Sea King. However, the ritual would cause the outbreak of the Whispering Plague, infecting the Sea Queen and her court and transforming them into Sirens. The Great Warrior and the Sea Queen, now the Siren King and Siren Queen, would be exiled from both the Ancients and the Merfolk kingdoms.
Still believing the Great Warrior to be a threat, the Ancients lured him into a trap with the promise of diplomacy. There he was trapped and subsequently murdered; his soul being sealed away in the Chest of Everlasting Sorrow. Enraged, the Siren Queen declared war on the Ancients and the Merfolk kingdom. Before the arrival of the Warrior of the Ancient Isles, the Ancients had no chance of winning the battle. However, the Warrior of the Ancient Isles would use the power of the Mermaid Gems to put the Sirens into a deep slumber, being inflicted with the Curse of a Sunken Sorrow in the process. Her remains were later entombed within the Shrine of Ancient Tears, where they can still be found.
Interactions with Pirates
The first known interaction between Pirates and Ancients likely took place in the Sea of the Damned where, as described by Wonda in the Forts of the Forgotten Adventure, Captain Flameheart had taken an Ancient prisoner in his search for the Veil of the Ancients. While the status of that prisoner is unknown, the consequences of Flameheart's aggression towards them resulted in his brief possession of two Veil Stones and the alliance of the Ancients and the Pirate Lord.
In the subsequent Legend of the Veil Voyage, Pirates can encounter several spectral Ancients whom they must fight alongside to defeat waves of Reaper Phantoms and a Soulflame Captain. For this, they are awarded a Veil Stone, completing a chapter of the Voyage.
Ancients Found In-game
- Ancient Priest - Priest who once sought to unite the worlds of the living and the dead with the Veil of the Ancients. Likely The High Priest mentioned in certain Journals.
Ancients Found In Lore
- The Great Warrior/Sea King - A skilled warrior who's love for the Sea Queen led to the creation of the Sirens.
- The High Priest - An Ancient Priest who was killed by the Great Warrior after a failed assassination.
- The King - The ruler of the Ancients. Likely a title passed between many people.
- Warrior of the Ancient Isles - A skilled Warrior who fell victim to the Curse of Sunken Sorrow after defeating the Sirens. Her bones can be found in a hidden chamber in the Shrine of Ancient Tears.
- Flameheart's Prisoner - An unknown Ancient imprisoned by Captain Flameheart during Forts of the Forgotten responsible for telling him about the Veil of the Ancients.