This guide is intended to document the story behind the Fiery Defender. It's not necessarily the fastest way to achieve the sword, and it includes lots of optional material not strictly required. Full details on why this guide is written and the meaning of the colors used can be found here.
The quest starts in the Plane of Fear. An NPC named Irak Altil is a wandering skeleton who is indifferent to all. (Since getting to Irak is a chore, most players will leave this step until they are ready for their final turn-in, or they just skip it entirely.)
Irak has an emote he gives off occasionally.
Irak Altil moans and continues to shamble across the barren landscape, oblivious to the monstrosities surrounding it. It mumbles to itself softly.
You say, 'Hail, Irak Altil'
Irak Altil turns its head upon its dried, cracked spine to look at you with a rictus grin. After staring through you it continues to walk on.
You say, 'What are you mumbling about?'
Irak Altil turns its rotted eyesockets towards you. 'Fallen light, upon this ground I fell. Left to rot, cast out. My holy arms stripped and my soul cast out of the halls. Twisted, failed, disgraced.'
You say, 'Why are you disgraced?'
Irak Altil says 'Disgrace upon my soul for failing in my duties. Disgrace of my brethren.'
You say, 'What duties?'
Irak Altil breathes his words from his skeletal mouth as if wind through a valley. 'Sword, shield, breastplate. Twisted to Innoruuks foul will. Must be retrieved and cleansed else my soul is to wander for all time.'
You say, 'What sword?'
Irak Altil says 'Hands of a twisted brother no longer living.'
You say, 'What shield?'
Irak Altil says 'Earthly children of the god of hate. Keeping stand over his dark brothers and sisters.'
You say, 'What breastplate?'
Irak Altil lets loose an unearthly howl as it gleams with sickly light. 'Upon she who lured me from my post. In that place where hatred festers. Painful corruption.'
You say, 'How can they be cleansed?'
Irak Altil says 'The sword must be dipped in water pure. Light of clean spirit to cleanse the shield. A gem of clarity unlike any other for the breastplate. All must be cleansed and returned to the temple for my soul to be freed. Only the temple can cleanse, only they can touch the artifacts. Take the sets of two to the temple. When they are all three cleansed separately take them to him who will grant me atonement.'
Your clue is the key word "atonement." The next NPC to talk to is Reklon Gnallen, who is in the Temple of Quellious in Erudin.
You say, 'Hail, Reklon Gnallen'
Reklon Gnallen says 'Hail to you friend. Seek you knowledge or atonement in this temple of peace?'
You say, 'I seek atonement'
Reklon Gnallen says 'Yes. Many are those who enter these halls seeking the forgiveness, the atonement of a god. By turning their spirit against whatever wrong they have committed they may be able to receive redemption in the eyes of their diety. Many seek such a thing, but few truly have the strength of spirit to attain it.'
You say, 'What temple of peace?'
Reklon Gnallen says 'Dedicated to the god of peace, Quellious, is this temple. It is here that her clerics and paladins pray and receive inspiration.'
You say, 'What paladins?'
Reklon Gnallen says 'As the clerics are the warm hand of healing, the paladins are the stalwart shield of protection, and in times of grave need the sharp sword of justice. To our post must we always remain vigilant else dishonor might befall us.'
You say, 'I wish to remain vigilant.' (Key word is "vigilant" or "dishonored"; both work)
Reklon Gnallen says 'To a paladin the upholding of his duty, or honor to his temple is foremost. To fail in his duty to stand at his assigned post in time of need is a great disgrace. Few are the paladins who have done so, and their spirits have been outcast from the god of peace.'
You say, 'What outcast?'
Reklon Gnallen says 'Harsh though it seems, a true paladin must always remain vigilant and dedicated to his cause. If he does not then he might find himself fallen from grace.'
You say, 'Who has fallen from grace?'
Reklon Gnallen says 'There are a few who have done so. Only a few that come to mind. Such stories are useful to remember as reminders of our beliefs.'
You say, 'What stories?'
Reklon Gnallen says 'One is the story of the paladin who fell due to his weakness in the duty of his guard post.' (Incomplete text for the quest? No prompts seem to lead from here to further text. I got the next question from a guide on the Web, but even that guide didn't say where that prompt came from.)
You say, 'what peasant woman?'
Reklon Gnallen says 'Many hundreds of years ago did this story begin. There was a paladin, whose name is lost to all but our oldest leaders, who was among the greatest examples of honor. It was his post to guard the chambers to our most important halls. His fall was a creature in the guise of a poor peasant woman.' (Note the illogical text -- this is the first time he mentions the peasant woman, but you have to explicitly ask about her to get this message.)
Missing text -- no other key words seem to produce any speech.
Clues from Irak Altil: Irak Altil says, 'Only the temple can cleanse, only they can touch the artifacts. Take the sets of two to the temple. When they are all three cleansed separately take them to he who will grant me atonement.'
Irak Altil failed his duty as a guard for the Paladins of Quellious and was cast out from his Temple. To release him from exile, you need to obtain, purify and return a tainted darksteel sword, shield and breastplate.
What Irak means is only the Temple of Quellious in Erudin, to which he once belonged, can cleanse the artifacts. (Despite this, one of the artifacts is cleansed by Tunare's temple in Felwithe.) The sets of 2 that he speaks of is the set of the sword and pure water, and the set of the breastplate and pure crystal. The third "set" is the shield and the spirit of Elia the Pure.
Clues from Irak Altil: Irak Altil lets loose an unearthly howl as it gleams with sickly light. 'Upon she who lured me from my post. In that place where hatred festers. Painful corruption.' ... 'A gem of clarity unlike any other for the breastplate.'
|The Tainted Darksteel Breastplate drops off the Thought Destroyer in the Plane of Hate. It identifies as "glowing sickly green".|
The "gem of clarity" is called a Pure Crystal, and it's obtained by doing a sub-quest in Kaladim. In the mines (take a right as you go in, across the bridge), find a miner named Jark.
You say, 'Hail, Jark'
(He doesn't respond to hails. Jark has two emotes, though.)
Jark strikes the wall with his pick. A dull clang sounds throughout the cave. 'Arrr. Nothin' here either.'
Jark strikes the wall with his pick. A clacking sound echoes through the cave. 'Har har. There's something all right.'
You say, 'Did you find something?' (Guides that tell you to say "some" are outdated; the correct keyword is now "something". Sometime between June 28, 2002 and July 17, 2003, Jark's emote was changed slightly to correct a grammar error. This is likely when the key word was changed. Also note that you don't actually have to wait for Jark to give this emote; you can ask him this question any time.)
Jark says 'Huh? Oh, I struck me some silver. Ain't gonna make me rich but it'll sure pay for me minin' costs. Speakin of, that wife o' mine was supposed ta bring me food already. Hey, you, wanna go get me my dinner? I ain't got nothing ta pay ya with but I sure would appreciate it.'
You say, 'I will get your dinner'
Jark says 'Har, I know you were a good sort. Nella has it. She's out there somewhere in the lower areas. She likes to visit the temple, so maybe she's there. Just tell 'er Jark sent ya and she'll prolly have everythin' ready fer me.'
Nella Stonebraids is triggered by the key word "dinner." She appears in the temple area, by the small pool of water across from the door to the cleric guild.
You say, 'Hail, Nella Stonebraids'
(She doesn't respond to hails.)
You say, 'Do you have Jark's dinner?'
Nella Stonebraids says 'Ach! I forgot me husband's dinner. I'm so sorry. I was sendin' my wishes ta Brell for health and long life. I was just floatin' coins into the wishin' pool. Usually it's for children but things haven't been so good lately. Here, please take this to him and tell him where I was.'
|You receive a cold plate of beef and bread, which identifies as "Jark's dinner".|
Take the dinner to Jark and hand it to him
Jark says 'Har, har! No time fer eatin' now! While you were gone I struck me a rich vein. Lookie here! Ya ever seen a gem so pure? Its tiny but clear as glass. Ya take it, <Your Name>. Ya showed me some kindness, least I can do. Besides, still a share here for me.'
|You receive a Pure Crystal, which has the item lore "blessed by compassion."|
Hand the Tainted Darksteel Breastplate and the Pure Crystal to Reklon Gnallen.
Reklon Gnallen presses the gem of purity against the breastplate. Its dark gleam softens and then glows bright once again. 'Compassion is strong in you. Few so called heroes would sacrifice their time for such a menial task as you performed. Continue your work. Hold this ancient breastplate until you have completed your task.'
|You receive the Gleaming Crested Breastplate, which identifies as "glowing with a bright light".|
Clues from Irak Altil: "Hands of a twisted brother no longer living. The sword must be dipped in water pure."
Tainted Darksteel Sword drops off the
Keeper of the Tombs in The Hole. It identifies as "glowing sickly
The "water pure" comes from doing a simple sub-quest of helping a peasant woman give some water to her sick brother. The peasant woman is located in the small aqueduct by the Monk guild in West Freeport.
The peasant woman doesn't respond to hails, but she has an emote.
peasant woman grunts as she tries to fill two buckets of water. Her frail arms strain at her work and pain fills her eyes with tears.
You say, 'What water?'
peasant woman says 'Aye, water, m'lord. For my brother. He is very sick. He's needin' drink. Hes burnin' up. I am sick myself but still able to move, a little. I must get this water to him before he gets worse.'
You say, 'I will take it'
peasant woman looks at you. 'Surely you are a pure soul. If you would take this bucket of water to my brother, I would be forever grateful. I'm just so tired, I need to rest...' She slumps to the floor and begins to breathe shallowly, in short, harsh gasps.
|You receive the bucket of water, which identifies as "bucket of aqueduct water".|
Her brother Joshua is in the back room of the Brownloe bakery nearby. Hand him the bucket.
Joshua dips his emaciated hand into the bucket and brings the water to his mouth. As he does, you hear a soft thump from outside and notice that through the window his sister has collapsed. A glimmer enfolds her body, and you notice the water in Joshua's hand gleam a pure, bright light for a moment. 'Thank you, sir. I hope my sister returns soon. I feel better for some reason.'
|You receive the bucket of pure water, which identifies as "blessed by sacrifice".|
Hand the Sword and the Bucket of Pure Water to Reklon Gnallen.
Reklon Gnallen washes the sword's blade in the water of purity. Its dark surface begins to shine, as true as the day it was forged. 'Such a sacrifice is rare among the poor. Truly, the woman must have loved her brother. Remember the lesson you have learned from her. Keep the sword until your work is done.'
|You receive a Gleaming Crested Sword, which identifies as "glowing with a bright light".|
Clues from Irak Altil: "Earthly children of the god of hate. Keeping stand over his dark brothers and sisters. Light of clean spirit to cleanse the shield."
|The Tainted Darksteel Shield drops off Kirak Vil in Nektulous Forest. It identifies as "glowing sickly green".|
The "light of clean spirit" isn't an object, unlike the other two items. Rather, it's the literal "clean spirit" of Elia the Pure in Felwithe. She is by the water just before you enter the inner city zone.
You say, 'Hail, Elia the Pure'
Elia the Pure says 'Hail to you, friend. If you require assistance, please ask, if not I must return to my tasks.'
You say, 'What tasks?'
Elia the Pure says 'It is here that the light shines brightest in our fair city. Here I sit, transcribing scrolls of luminescence. Spells to light the dark, to blind the evil with purity, or to heal those in pain. I find it so much easier to work with such spells if I am in the light itself.'
You say, 'What purity?'
Elia the Pure says 'Cleansing and such. Often our temple will cleanse evil. If you have need of such a thing, I can help. Merely let me examine the item.'
To purify the Tainted Darksteel Shield, just give it to Elia.
Elia the Pure squints and turns her head. 'By the gods, such a twisted aura this has! To see it hurts my eyes. I will help you if for no other reason than to remove such a twisted thing from existence.' She unrolls a scroll from her pack and softly chants over the dark metal shield. She hands it back to you with an exhausted smile on her face. 'Your heart seems pure. If I was able to help at all, I am honored. May the light shine warmly upon you.'
|You receive the Gleaming Crested Shield, which identifies as "glowing with a bright light".|
Return to Reklon Gnallen in Erudin. Hand him the Gleaming Crested Sword, Shield, and Breastplate together.
Reklon Gnallen says 'I never thought our order would see these artifacts again. With the return of these relics we can now put at ease a scar upon the history of our order. This cleansing will atone for his failure. Your soul must be pure to have given so freely of yourself. Go now, take this crested token of our order. If you wish to free his soul you must undertake another sacrifice.'
|You receive a Mark of Atonement, which has the item lore "Mark of Peace".|
You say, 'What sacrifice?'
Reklon Gnallen says 'Only this crest and the sacrifice of something that symbolizes your strength and purity will release his spirit into the cleansing flames of our lady Quellious. Go now.'
Reklon mentions "something that symbolizes your strength and purity;" he is in fact referring to the Fiery Avenger. The last step is to turn in the Mark of Atonement and the Fiery Avenger to Irak Altil in Fear. Turn in the two items together. Irak will then give you your new Fiery Defender.
Irak Altil screams so loudly it echoes across the valley as the mark and flames of your holy sword touch his rotted bones. As his body twists he quiets and then speaks. 'Your selflessness has made it possible to redeem my honor. With the cleansing of my corruption your own soul has been strengthened. Your power comes from your devotion to your god and with this you have been rewarded. Remember always your purity, devotion, and why you have sacrificed. I must go now to sacrifice myself upon the spear of pain.'
|You receive your Fiery Defender. Gratz!|
I did not write this guide myself. Rather, I compiled it from dozens of Web pages across the 'Net. Much of the in-game text I obtained myself.
A few of the sources deserve notable mention.