Genshin Impact: The fall of Khaenri'ah and the rise of the Abyss Order

The fall of the godless nation of Khaenri'ah is one of the most pivotal events in Genshin Impact's sprawling story.

The fall of the godless nation of Khaenri'ah is one of the most pivotal events in Genshin Impact's sprawling story, with the mysteries surrounding this tragedy only deepening with the reveals from the 'Caribert' Archon Quest. Here's everything we know so far. (Photo: HoYoverse)
The fall of the godless nation of Khaenri'ah is one of the most pivotal events in Genshin Impact's sprawling story, with the mysteries surrounding this tragedy only deepening with the reveals from the 'Caribert' Archon Quest. Here's everything we know so far. (Photo: HoYoverse)

Genshin Impact's latest Archon Quest, titled 'Caribert', gave players a glimpse into the origins of the mysterious Abyss Order.

However, it ended up giving us more questions than answers regarding the overarching story of the game.

From the fall of Khaenri'ah to the rise of the Abyss Order, here’s everything we learned so far, and speculations as to what truly is in store as we move forward in our journey to reunite with our missing twin.

Warning! Spoilers ahead for the Archon Quest, Prologue, Act III: When The Wind Dies Down, World Quest Boughkeeper: Dainsleif, Archon Quest, Chapter I Act IV: We Will Be Reunited, Archon Quest, Chapter II Act IV: Requiem of the Echoing Depths, and the recent Archon Quest, Chapter III Act VI: Caribert, as well as various character stories, in-game lore, and collectible documents. Read at your own risk!

We’ve talked about the Traveler’s journey as they search for their missing twin, and the titbits of information we’ve learned about the great cataclysm of 500 years ago that set the gears of this story in motion: the fall of the nation of Khaenri’ah.

But what exactly is Khaenri’ah? Why did it incur the wrath of Celestia?

The fall of a godless nation

Confirmed by Dainsleif to be located deep underneath Sumeru and near the Chasm in Liyue, Khaenri’ah was a technologically advanced nation that was independent from the protection or guidance of the gods. It is because the nation had existed without one - and would continue to exist without the need for one - Dainsleif notes, that his fallen nation was once 'the pride of humankind'.

In the book 'Before Sun and Moon', which depicted the history of the similar underground nation Enkanomiya, it is purported that a great calamity, that being the war between 'The Primordial One' and 'The Second Who Came' forced ancient civilisations to flee underground to be spared from the wrath of these warring divine beings.

However, due to reasons unknown, these civilisations were forbidden to return aboveground. We can surmise that one of these civilisations was the beginning dredges of Khaenri’ah.

Life in the underground nation, despite the lack of resources from aboveground, was bountiful due to the numerous technological advancements of its people. One such advancement was the 'Art of Khemia', a branch of Alchemy that focused on the creation of life.

Khaenri’ah was ruled by the 'Eclipse Dynasty'. Not much is known about them, except that it followed a system of monarchy; that being ruled by a King and/or Queen, and that its likely final ruler was a man named “Irmin”.

Dainsleif held a high position in the Eclipse Dynasty’s court as the 'Twilight Sword' of the 'Black Serpent Knights' royal guard, with Archon Quest-exclusive Halfdan as one of his subordinates.

Pierro, the original Fatui Harbinger, also served Khaenri’ah’s court as its Royal Mage, while Clothar Alberich, Kaeya’s ancestor and the founder of the Abyss Order, was one of its aristocrats.

The nation was a melting pot of different cultures and peoples, Clothar indulged that Khaenri’ah was not only built by the 'pure-blooded', but by those from other nations who sought to live in a country without gods.

One such example is Clothar’s mistress, who hailed from Mondstadt.

It is not exactly known when the Traveler and their sibling arrived in Teyvat or how they spent their time in this world, although we can assume that while the Traveler was asleep, their twin settled within Khaenri’ah before its destruction.

Clothar would even go so far as to confirm that the Abyss Twin had been a prince/princess of Khaenri’ah as well, saying that they viewed her as their hope — seeing them as the 'Abyss' itself in all its wondrous, mysterious nature.

However, the Traveler would awaken to find that they and their twin must now leave Teyvat. And in their attempt to do so, were separated by the Unknown God (or the Sustainer of Heavenly Principles) most likely just before the Archons laid waste to the godless nation.

Accounts in-game differ, and no exact reason is known.

The downfall of Khaenri’ah was brought upon by a variety of internal conflicts that Pierro, during La Signora’s funeral in 'A Winter Night’s Lazzo', alludes to. Glimpses of the nation's destruction were also shown in the 'We Will Be Reunited' teaser.

From what we know so far, Khaenri’ah’s destruction was the result of two events.

First, the 'sages' tearing away 'the veil of sin' — that being 'subversive' or 'forbidden' knowledge. We can assume that it is the same 'forbidden knowledge' that Al Ahmar (Deshret) and Nabu Malikata (Goddess of Flowers) sought to find; that being the secrets of the stars and the abyss of the Master of the Four Shades (or the Primordial One).

The next reason we know of is that the Great Alchemist Rhinedottir was one of the major catalysts to incur the wrath of Celestia and The Heavenly Principles.

“Corrupted” by her single desire to create perfection and attain power, Rhinedottir was said to have unleashed upon Teyvat her creations through her mastery of the Art of Khemia.

However, conflicting accounts purport that Teyvat itself was undergoing some kind of 'great disaster' wholly independent from Khaenri’ah’s destruction, and Durin’s memories from 'Festering Desire' paint Rhinedottir as only sending him out to the world to “show off his beauty”.

Eitherway, the saying 'history is written by the victors' lends some credence to this account.

Rhinedottir would be known now as 'The Great Sinner', while her fellow people too, would be called 'sinners', cursed by immortality or the wilderness; doomed to suffer eternity in erosion, or as the mindless monsters surrounding Teyvat in modern days (sleep well after massacring those Hilichurls, people).

The voice from the Abyss

During the Caribert quest, we encountered a dark crystal similar to the defiled statue, being worshipped by mindless Hilichurls that prostrated themselves in its presence.

Clothar too, would be overcome with a sense of intense veneration and internal peace.

However, the Traveler - who was later revealed to be reliving this memory that his twin had gone through -realises that this isn’t some kind of 'holy power' akin to a god as Clothar had believed.

He knew that its ominous aura could have only come from the Abyss, making its presence known as a mysterious voice speaking directly to the minds of those who have come to witness it.

The voice, who called himself a 'sinner', seemed to be familiar about the details of the Abyss twin's struggle after witnessing the fall of Khaenri’ah.

It exuded a sinister aura that lit up all the red flags in the Traveler’s mind, concluding with the thought that this was an enemy as mysterious and dangerous as the mysteries of the Abyss itself.

The reveal of the Sinner during the 'Caribert' quest only raises more questions about the fall of Khaenri'ah and the rise of the Abyss Order. Just who is this mysterious entity? (Photo: HoYoverse)
The reveal of the Sinner during the 'Caribert' quest only raises more questions about the fall of Khaenri'ah and the rise of the Abyss Order. Just who is this mysterious entity? (Photo: HoYoverse)

But who is this voice, exactly?

Dainsleif and Clothar themselves say that they have an idea as to who this 'Sinner' was, and we have our own speculations as well.

A sinner who could rival the 'greatness' of sin that Rhinnedottir had committed could might as well be the last ruler of Khaenri’ah himself, King Irmin.

Clothar had stated during our confrontation with him that the court of Khaenri’ah had viewed Lumine as “...the Abyss... A wondrous mystery far beyond our imagination and comprehension…”

That leads us to believe that even before the arrival of the twins to Teyvat, Khaneri’ah had been attempting to learn or explore the Abyss and its power — something that was proven to be quite difficult, as its dangerous terrain, poisonous miasma, and many of its creatures were challenges that not even confirmed survivors like Rhinnedottir or Tartaglia were left unscathed by.

And although the people aboveground and Celestia viewed the Abyss as something both literally and metaphorically dark, it seemed that Khaenri’ah, although godless, seemed to view the Abyss as a power that could lead them into unbound prosperity.

Now, not much is known about King Irmin, only that he was missing his left eye, and small statuettes modelled after him can be found on the persons of Black Serpent Knights we fight in the Chasm.

The descriptions of these statuettes seem to imply that King Irmin was held in an almost 'holy' regard, as the statuettes are described as holy relics that inspire courage in those who know its significance.

Irmin is also the Norse equivalent to the Jörmunr, which is used as an epithet to the god Odin, who is also known to be missing an eye, which he sacrificed for 'divine knowledge'.

Now that we’re treading in the realm of speculation and theory, could it be that King Irmin, along with the sages of Khaenri’ah, had a hand in bringing upon his people the Forbidden Knowledge, likely at the price of his eye?

And aiding them was none other than the Traveler's twin, one not of their world and therefore, not tied to the laws of their world (or so they think), who could harness the power of the Abyss.

And what happened next…well, we all know how that went. Sorta.

There’s still much to know, and there are still more questions left to be asked and answered — we’re pretty sure however, that Genshin Impact will have us reeling in our seats for the next addition to its story.

Yan Ku is a full-time dog parent, part-time (gacha) gamer, and part-time writer.

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