Know Your Lore, TFH Edition: Wrathion and Legion
Warlords of Draenor is coming to an end, and with the next expansion’s announcement, we see that the story will continue right on into the next…sort of. Although Yrel, Durotan, Draka and everyone else native to Draenor will apparently be remaining behind, Gul’dan has most definitely left the planet to continue carrying out the Burning Legion’s demands. This has some people wondering why we spent so much time on the world, if we’re just going to leave all those characters behind?
Yet with the announcement of Legion, there’s some fascinating potential for story. And while we don’t have all the pieces of that story just yet, there are a few elements that stand out in stark relief among others. More importantly, maybe if we look a little more closely, we’ll be able to answer that burning question of just why we went to Draenor in the first place, and why nobody is following us back to Azeroth. Here’s a hint: We weren’t there for any of them.
Today’s Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition. The following contains speculation on the next expansion, World of Warcraft: Legion. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn’t be taken as fact or official lore — but if you’re avoiding any potential Legion spoilers or speculation, you might want to veer away.
Back in Mists of Pandaria, we already had the portent of Legion to contend with. We knew this was coming, because Wrathion had a vision telling him that this was the case. It’s that very vision that sent us on our first expansion-long legendary quest chain, fueling the fires of war between Alliance and Horde. Why the focus on war? Because Wrathion knew that as separate entities, we would not be capable of defending ourselves against the Burning Legion. Our world would be helpless against the onslaught. And he wanted to prevent that from happening.
So Wrathion set out, in his wisdom, to do what needed to be done to take care of the need for a united front. It was obvious due to the constant clashing between factions that working together simply wasn’t something that was ever bound to happen. No, in order to have both sides working together, one side needed to absorb the other — the constant warfare between Alliance and Horde had to be set in motion, had to be pushed fast-forward to declare a victor. Once that victor was declared, one faction would inevitably be swallowed by the other one, leaving Azeroth with one tidy, gigantic army of unnaturally strong heroes to defend the world from whatever came to pass.
But when the Siege of Orgrimmar ended, we were right back where we began — Alliance and Horde, still separate entities, neither one willing to conquer the other. And that infuriated Wrathion, because simply put, without both sides working in tandem, there was no way the world could be saved. We saw his explosive temper tantrum at the end of the legendary quest chain, at which point he flapped off for parts unknown with a vow, “I promise you this: I will stop at nothing to prepare this world for the battle to come. Nothing!”
And oddly enough, that’s the last time we saw Wrathion play a major role in the game. In the novel War Crimes, Wrathion once again makes an appearance, and this time he’s up to no good — he helps Kairoz set Garrosh Hellscream free, letting the former Warchief escape to Draenor. Not our Draenor, a different Draenor, an alternate reality where events are just different enough that Kairoz’s plans would prove to be a success. What were his plans? We don’t know. Kairoz was killed before they could ever come to pass.
Meanwhile, Wrathion once again disappeared — and the only hint to his arrival on Draenor lay in the Garrison Log of one Admiral Taylor of the Alliance.
Sir Harris arrived in the town hall today with the Black Prince Wrathion in tow. Hard to tell who was the captive and who was the captor. Wrathion seeks asylum in my garrison, claims he did something to cheese off the ogres. Harris barked that Wrathion is a fugitive from the Alliance. Lady Claudia and her troops fanned out with guns drawn. Tense situation. Told Wrathion he was welcome as our “guest,” provided he stayed under house arrest and full-time guard. Messages dispatched to the King. Black Dragon now ensconced in my garrison – what could go wrong?
Barracks complete. Armory in progress. Huge shipment of resources arrived this morning – a “gift” from Wrathion to build us an inn. How does he do that? Went to speak with Wrathion and he told me to keep an eye on Ephial. I don’t trust either of them.
Took some of guards aside and offered them substantial hazard pay to maintain a 24-hour watch on Wrathion. They lowered their eyes and admitted that Wrathion was already paying them to keep an eye on ME. That son of a…
Once again, the tale ends with no sight of Wrathion, nor any indication as to what he was doing on Draenor. And the rest of the expansion passed by without a peep from the Black Prince, until players finished the last leg of the legendary quest chain with Khadgar. Wrathion appears very briefly, taking a moment to rest on a Kirin Tor banner before quickly flying off. No words are spoken, no indication is given that Wrathion has anything to do with any of the events going on — for all purposes, he’s an observer, nothing more. So what is he watching for? And more importantly, if the events on Draenor are spinning out of control, if the Burning Legion is striking back, shouldn’t he be more involved?
No. Because it’s growing more and more likely that everything that happened on Draenor happened for a reason — and that reason had little to do with Garrosh Hellscream or Kairoz, and everything to do with what Wrathion wants.
In the announcement for Legion, Alex Afrasiabi pointed out that Gul’dan will be returning to Azeroth to open a gateway for the Burning Legion, beginning the single largest invasion Azeroth has ever seen. In other words, Wrathion’s vision is about to come true. So why, of all things, did he stand idly by when all of these events were playing out on Draenor? Why didn’t he step in and say something? Why didn’t he guide us into preventing his vision from ever coming to pass? Was he shying away from altering history? Or did he want us to fight the Legion? Did he want Gul’dan to come to Azeroth?
Consider this: Wrathion’s plans of putting the Alliance and Horde war into fast-forward didn’t work. And Wrathion knew there was no way of preventing the vision he saw from happening. It wasn’t some mutable version of the future, it was the future — he was absolutely certain of it. If he could not have a hand in bringing an army together, he could have a hand in bringing his vision to pass…by helping Kairoz carry out the catalyst for the Legion’s arrival. By witnessing how it all came to be, Wrathion might have thought he’d be able to somehow influence the odds in his favor.
Or maybe he needed the Legion to show up. Not because he wants Azeroth under siege…because he has a purpose on the world, something far bigger than anything we’ve ever realized. Wrathion is not your typical black dragon. His egg was cobbled together from the pieces of a black whelp corpse, a wild black dragon egg, and a black dragon egg produced by Nyxondra, purified and pieced together with the help of an ancient titan device — a device we never fully understood, the Eye of the Watchers. His first actions out of the shell were to arrange the extinction of the corrupted members of his own dragonflight, including his father, Deathwing. He was born a purified black dragon, and he proceeded to purge the world of his flight’s corruption.
And then Wrathion proceeded on a course that took him to Pandaria, where he sent us willy-nilly all over the landscape gathering pieces so that he could create powerful items to amplify our power, all in the name of ending the war between Alliance and Horde. Meanwhile, behind our backs, he sent his loyal Blacktalon Agents and Watchers off on errands of their own. Most simply wandered the roads, but a few spent a curious amount of time surveying the waters of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, and the waters of the Valley of the Four Winds, commenting cryptically that the pandaren didn’t even know what they were sitting on. In the Valley of the Four Winds, Zazzo Twinklefingers comments on the water’s properties.
Zazzo Twinklefingers says: How very strange. I wouldn’t call these waters enchanted, but there’s a faint residual energy. It’s similar to a pattern I once noted in Sholazar Basin.
Not once in any quest you do with Wrathion does he suggest he’s doing anything other than trying to expedite the war. But in between all of those quests, Wrathion seems to be dead set on a particular purpose: Finding more information on the Titans. Why? Perhaps he’s curious about his strange origins, or perhaps he’s got something far greater in mind. One Blacktalon Agent says, quite plainly, “He is creating a new world for us.” This would explain his seeming obsession with the powers of creation, wouldn’t it?
But far more importantly, during the events of Mists of Pandaria Wrathion sends us to go forth and return with the heart of the Thunder King — the mogu emperor who tore out the heart of a Titan watcher, Ra-den, and absorbed the watcher’s powers for his own. Once retrieved, Wrathion proceeds to devour the heart, hoping to seek a glimpse at the very language of creation itself. Instead, he has a vision…one that may very well be the impetus for his future actions.
Pillars of Creation
In Legion, we will embark on a journey to seek out and discover the Pillars of Creation, Titan relics that were used to shape the world when it was young, “When it was first born.” These relics, according to the presentation by Alex Afrasiabi at Gamescom, are the only things that can help us close the gateway, “This massive wound,” at heart of the Tomb of Sargeras, and stop the Burning Legion from coming through.
Isn’t it odd that Wrathion is so invested in researching Titan material, yet the attack by the Legion ultimately presents the opportunity to take a far closer look at the creation of Azeroth? More importantly, what do the Pillars of Creation do, exactly? And if the Burning Legion had never invaded, would we have bothered to find these ancient pieces of Azeroth’s history at all? Is Wrathion trying to prevent the destruction of Azeroth, or did he deliberately set the wheels in motion for the invasion to happen, once he discovered the secrets that Lei Shen’s heart held?
“WE HAVE FALLEN. WE MUST REBUILD THE FINAL TITAN. DO NOT FORGET.”
I’m pretty certain we haven’t seen the last of Wrathion — not by a long shot. And if any of this speculation is correct, we were sent to Draenor on purpose, and so was Garrosh Hellscream, and Kairoz. In the long run, Draenor doesn’t matter, and never mattered at all to Wrathion. What mattered was that we performed a task so out of the ordinary — a trip to an alternate version of reality and time — that it would capture the attention of the Burning Legion. Warlords of Draenor was never about preventing the Iron Horde from invading Azeroth. It was never about the Draenei or the Orc clans, which is why none of them are fit enough to follow us as we continue our journey. It was about catching the attention of the most notorious army the universe holds, and setting into motion the events that would bring Wrathion’s vision to reality. Because we can save Azeroth, Wrathion knows that much.
More importantly, we can perhaps rebuild the final Titan while we’re at it, with the Pillars of Creation itself.
While this is, of course, all speculation, Legion is already shaping up to hold far more in the way of secrets and lore than Warlords has given us to date. We’ll have to wait and see if the pesky Black Prince makes his return once Legion is released.
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