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Menzies, the rightful god of war.

Nightbringer Tenchi.5794

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   We all know the story of Balthazar, the "god of war" by human standards. But the subtext behind his story tells a very different tale. One of power struggle between the rightful heir to the throne of the Fissure of Woe and of a Usurper that stole it from him.


   Bathazar and Menzies are half-brothers. Honestly, I'm not certain how we actually know this as to my knowledge there are no written citations to where this info came from so my assumption is it's NPC chatter from a Domain of Anguish mission in Guild Wars 1, but moving forward under that assumption we can be certain of 2 things about the "human gods"; Firstly, they can procreate and Secondly, that procreation isn't limited by race unless the "human gods" themselves are also racially human as we see with Dwayna and Grenth being mother and son while Grenth's father being an unnamed Orrian, a human. Grenth is proof of racial hybridization since he is, by nature, half-god. From this we can extract that the Father of war procreated with 2 different races, what ever they may be and I have a bit of an educated guess on this, to create both Balthazar and Menzies. And here's where the struggle comes in.



"Balthazar came in fire and wrath, carrying the head of his father and leading his fierce hounds, Temar and Tegon. He swept Orr with a cleansing flame.

It was he who claimed Tyria for humanity; he who said the other races would be easy to defeat. It would not be the only time that the Master of War was wrong."

— Orrian History Scrolls, The Six, Volume 2—Balthazar: God of War

   [Balthazar came in fire and wrath, carrying the head of his father]. This very statement is loaded with a power struggle between father and son, ending in the son's victory, carrying the head like a trophy and that it was a conflict born of a very bitter disagreement, enough to inspire "wrath". Not pride, not victory, not courage or anything else you would expect from a venerable warrior. Wrath, deliberate scornfulness. So what conflict could Balthazar have with his father? Simple; the Father of war was going to name Menzies his successor and Balthazar couldn't accept it.


   We know from both the death of Abaddon, the imprisonment of Dhuum and the death of Balthazar that god's power doesn't just vanish when they die, it can be stolen from them. This is further proven by the Margonite known as "The Apostate" as the reward dialog in the quest "The Apostate" reads as fallows;

   "Thank you for protecting me. And for your help, I shall now fulfill my end of the bargain.

You may have wondered why I was being chased so vehemently by Abaddon's hunters, and I believe it is as simple as this: I do not believe Abaddon to be an eternal god. There were other gods before him, before he was imprisoned here. And I believe that while the power he uses cannot be destroyed, he may be supplanted, as he supplanted his predecessor.

Use this knowledge for your benefit."

   From this we can infer that this 'supplanting' behavior is well known amongst the gods themselves. When you have power and you know it can be stolen from you, you'd need to take as many precautions as necessary to prevent that from happening. Doesn't always work but the gods even sometimes plan for when their assassin chooses to dance in front of them. And as we've seen with the death of Balthazar, a god's loose power doesn't need to go all to the same place as Balthazar's power ended up split between Kralkatorrik and Aurene. This is where the father's head and wrath come in. My conclusion is that durring the struggle between the Father of war and Balthazar, Menzies at some point was present and fought with their father against Balthazar. But Balthazar gained the upper hand and either kill the father with a beheading strike or killed him then beheaded him. Either way there was enough time for Balthazar to collect the head before arriving in Orr. The reason Bathazar arrived in 'fire and wrath' is because he was furious that he didn't take 100% of the father's power and it was split between the brothers instead.


   Now one more thing to establish is my belief on the nature of Balthazar and Menzies before getting into the real meat of "where is he now?" and that thing is how both Balthazar and Menzies are half god's of war. Given their father was the original(to our knowledge) god of war and being half brothers sharing the same father; they would both be half-war god so to speak. But what is the other half? We see all kinds of art and eventually the actual physical embodiment of Balthazar himself and... to be honest... he looks a lot like a Norn. If the human goddess Dwayna can birth a son by a human of Orr, then there's no evidence that another god can't procreate with another race. And it's not just his look that makes me think Norn, Balthazar acted a LOT like the Norn from Guild Wars 1 in my opinion. He could be half something else entirely, but until we are told of something else that fits the bill this is what my logic has brought me to. And that brings me to Menzies, what if Menzies was half Charr? A human loving half-norn half-war god would have every reason to be irate with a father who names a half-charr half-war god his heir instead of himself. The charr are a very warring race to begin with and the spiked aesthetic of the shadow army are shared with Charr wargear. Just a possibility and can very well not be true to the story but until we know more about the two god's parents or the actual look of menzies himself, as he has absolutely zero associated are or imagery in both Guild Wars 1 & 2 we can only speculate on the nature of their feud.


   To that effect, I conclude that this usurping of his rightful title as the God of War by Balthazar is not only the reason why Menzies laid constant siege to the Fissue of Woe but why he seems to have no interest in the material plane of Tyria. Abaddon's Margonites, Titans and Torment demons have all been seen in Tyria(and 1 in Cantha), creatures of the Underworld inhabit places with links to it like in Godslost Swamp in Queensdale and Reaper's Gate in Lornar's Pass. But the Shadow army of Menzies has only been seen in 3 places; The Fissure of Woe, The Realm of Torment and technically the Hall of Heroes. Though the "Darkness" boss in the Hall of Heroes is labeled as a "Torment Demon" making it one of Abaddon's minions, the "Darkness" enemies in the Domain of Anguish are all classified under Shadow Army. Brings up the question "Is this an error or is this intentional?" which in turn has even greater implications but that's off topic.


   So that leaves the big question; Where is Menzies now and what is he doing? My guess is that he is consolidating his power before a big reveal and the rightful god of war, whether or not he will strictly be a human god is anyone's guess but as of right now, with Balthazar and Abaddon dead and Dhuum in lockup, Menzies has literal free reign of the Fissure of Woe, Realm of Torment and possibly parts of the Underworld. We know from the Nightfall campaign that Menzies was cooperating with both Abaddon and Dhuum and now with his 2 allies gone and his great enemy in Balthazar dead, the only thing standing in his way is the limit of his own power. We know this with the Dragonfall map, it's swarming with Shadow army which tells us that not only is Menzies still very much so alive and well but his army's numbers are growing. And the only 2 mentions of Menzies in all of Guild Wars 2 is the torch Fate of Menzies and the Greatsword Menzies' Anguish. Neither of which currently seem to mean anything to Menzies' story and we don't know if they ever will.


   Whether or not Menzies is a good or evil god is largely a subjective position, especially since the only "evil" thing he's really done is fight Balthazar and collaborate with other "fallen gods". But we've found out that Balthazar himself wasn't exactly a good god to begin with and in story is considered one of the "fallen gods" now. But it still remains that Menzies may in the future reveal himself as the "new" god of war and if Arenanet wants to incorporate both the Fissure of Woe and Realm of Torment into future content they will be forced to expand upon this character to do so.


   All that said, I think it would be very interesting and have great story implications if Menzies did turn out to be something like half-Charr, especially with how the Charr view gods, could end up with the revival of the Gold Legion. But those are just my thoughts.

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One major issue to the theory. Well, a couple IMO, but the biggest is that one doesn't usurp title of "god". You either are, or you're not. Gods in Guild Wars are very literal and very unique, particularly the Six Gods. And by the lore we have so far, there can be no more, no less than six - or rather, there's so far no indication that gods' numbers can increase, and the destruction of a god without a replacement appears to result in global catastrophe.


Regardless of views of and actions by, Balthazar is a god (or former, in the timeline of GW2); his body even breaks apart just like Abaddon's does upon death (side fact: this means that Balthazar's father was not a god, as he left behind (part of) a body), but Menzies? We have no clue what he is. For all we know, he could be as much a spirit as his Shadow Army appear to be.


And there's no indication that this would be a case of "Balthazar stole the previous dying god's power from Menzies", as Menzies was very much in league with the evil gods, while Balthazar in league with the good ones. And Balthazar doesn't seem to be one known for trickery and deception until after he was "betrayed" by the other five gods - unless he's the most deceptive being in the multiverse to hold up a ruse for over 3,000 years long (and in opposition to both the goddess of illusion and god of knowledge to boot? Just who is this hypothetical mastermind expert trickster and liar - LOKI!? Nah, even he wasn't so good.). So for this theory to come out true... well, pretty much everything about the two half-brothers needs to be false.


On an aside, the half-brother thing comes from several GW1 NPCs, such as (but not strictly limited to):

In addition, I recall some devs have named them half-brothers as well, so it doesn't seem to be a situation of a dozen different unreliable narrators spewing the same lie.


Also side note, all that's said about Grenth's father is that he was a "mortal sculptor". Doesn't necessarily mean human sculptor, though it's a good guess. It's in the whole "it's 95% certain". Also we're talking about the goddess of life, so there's always the possibility that Dwayna is a mostly unique scenario where her domain of godhood allows her to procreate while the others cannot - after all, gods like Balthazar are outright stated to not be living beings, but magic vessels, by Koss, Kormir, and Taimi's scanners. Even then, if Balthazar had a divine parent, he would be like Grenth, born a half-god, as evident by the aforementioned of his father being mortal by virtue of leaving a body behind.

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I, like Konig did, was going to mention that carrying the head of his father likely meant that Balthazar's father wasn't a god as well. Unless it was some sort of metaphor, from what we have seen, gods don't leave behind a body when they die. Now, we haven't seen a REAL god die, both Balthazar and Abaddon we're former/depowered so there could be something to a full god having a physical form, but that is an unknown. This would mean that the former god of war would have been his mother and perhaps his father lead some sort of rebellion when Balthazar took his mother's place. Or perhaps Balthazar is another offspring of Dwayna and the former god of war was completely separate and of no relation to him. There is just too much unknown about the backstory for there to be a solid theory based on facts, especially with ArenaNet's use of unreliable narrator.

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