Know Your Lore: Druid Artifact lore in Legion
Druid lore already has its own unique extended history, and Druid Artifact lore only expands on it. Of all the classes available in World of Warcraft, Druids by far have the largest section of dedicated lore. This is partially because Druids were established during a well-known and well-documented period of Azeroth’s history, and partially because druidism in general revolves around the Ancients. The Ancients made a reappearance in Cataclysm, and with their return, Druids suddenly had not only more lore to work with, but two new races — Troll and Worgen — added to the lineup.
While Trolls didn’t exactly get a gigantic amount of new lore, the Worgen and their origins are tied so closely to the Druid class that it’s impossible to talk about one without discussing the other. And in the case of Druid Artifact weapons, it’s impossible to discuss them without discussing the Ancients, because each of the four Druid weapons relate back to the origins of the Druid class. Appropriate, since we’ll be spending some time in Legion exploring the very place where druidism first began.
Balance: Scythe of Elune
From the official site:
This mystical artifact was created millennia ago from the Staff of Elune and a fang from the wolf demigod Goldrinn. The Scythe of Elune carries a long and unsettling history for druids: those who are not careful enough can easily be overwhelmed by Goldrinn’s spirit, which infuses the scythe. Tied to the origin of the worgen on Azeroth, the scythe is said to possess untold lunar power for the druid with balance enough to keep control.
For Worgen, this weapon is the physical representation of how they came to be, and for Druids, this weapon embodies everything that they are. The Scythe of Elune has a long and storied history — it was crafted from the staff of Elune and the fang of Goldrinn, the wolf Ancient. The first Druids of Kaldorei society assumed many animal forms, and some proved to be too much to handle. Pack form, or wolf form, was powerful, but it also embodied the fury of the Ancient Goldrinn, and those that took the form often found themselves losing their minds to uncontrollable rage and fury. Because of this, Malfurion forbid its use.
Although Malfurion may have forbidden it, that didn’t stop some Druids from disobeying his orders and taking on the form anyway. The Scythe of Elune was meant to temper the fury and rage that came with assuming pack form, but it didn’t work as intended. Instead, it transformed the Druids of the Pack into Worgen — monstrous, humanoid wolves who were just as rage filled, if not more so, than they were when they assumed the form of the wolf.
The Scythe might seem an odd choice for a Balance Druid, but it’s actually where the weapon best fits. The Scythe combines the rage of Goldrinn, encapsulated in his fang, with the soothing calm of Elune, infused in the staff. It perfectly encapsulates that fine line between Druid and beast that every Druid learns to master over the course of their training. Druids that wield this weapon are masters of their own internal balance, and that’s kind of what being a Balance Druid is all about.
Feral: Fangs of Ashamane
From the official site:
The massive gray panther Ashamane, one of the first Wild Gods, was one of many to answer the call of the demigod Cenarius and defend the world of Azeroth during the War of the Ancients. She fell in battle against the Legion, but saved countless lives in the process. A great shrine was built in her honor in Val’sharah, and her fangs were adorned and put on display there. It is said they still carry much of her power.
We don’t really know just how many Ancients there are on Azeroth — we know of a handful, but there are countless more whose history has been lost to time. Ashamane is one of those Ancients — she perished during the War of the Ancients, and while she warranted a shrine in Val’sharah, we knew little of her in the outside world. In a way, that’s how Druidism has always been. Druids are protectors of nature, and while they work closely with the other classes and races of Azeroth, they aren’t exactly upfront about what they do.
So it only stands to reason there are aspects of Druid culture we don’t really know, because really, what they do is dangerous, and without proper training, dabbling in that kind of power can have disastrous consequences. Regardless, Ashamane was one of a great number of Ancients that fought and perished in the War of the Ancients, and unlike those that were reborn during the attack on Hyjal, Ashamane never made a reappearance. That’s a little odd when you think about it, because it seems like the Ancients are immortal — Cenarius was killed in Warcraft 3, yet made a return — but it seems that in some cases, Ancients die and stay that way.
Regardless, Ashamane’s spirit lives on in the Druid that wields the Fangs of Ashamane, and it’s only appropriate that her fangs are being used as a weapon against the Legion. After all, fighting the Legion was what brought her end in the first place. If she can’t be returned to life as Cenarius and others were, at least she can live on in another fashion, and continue defending and serving Azeroth through the Druids that choose to wield her power.
Guardian: Claws of Ursoc
From the official site:
Forged from titansteel by the titanic watcher Keeper Freya, these claws were her gift to the great bear Ursoc, one of the Wild Gods. He wielded the claws in countless battles until his death during the War of the Ancients. Although his body faded away, the claws remained, and legends say a fragment of his spirit lingered within them. After wrestling the claws away from Ursoc’s furbolg followers, a band of druids took the claws to the Emerald Dream, sought out Ursoc’s spirit, and returned the claws to him for safekeeping.
Ursoc, on the other hand, is an example of an Ancient that could be resurrected…although his resurrection had dire consequences. Together with his brother Ursol, the great bear Ancients became revered by the Furbolg. But the Ancients had a deeper history, as evidenced by their claws. They were crafted by Freya, a titanic watcher. Here’s the interesting part about the Ancients: we’re not quite sure just where they came from. In the novel Wolfheart, it’s said that while the Titans shaped the world, the Ancients were born of Azeroth itself, implying that the Ancients were not in fact a Titan creation, but simply spawned from the world.
Yet despite this, the Ancients — and Azeroth — didn’t appear to find the works of the Titans unnatural or out of the ordinary. In fact, there are several instances where the Ancients worked in tandem with the creations of the Titans. Freya’s gift to Ursoc is just another example to add to the list. Given that we’re seeing plenty of Druid history as well as Titan lore in Legion, I’m hoping that the relation between these two unusual aspects of Azeroth is further explored.
As for Ursoc, while he perished in the War of the Ancients, he did return to life…but unfortunately, the Furbolg weren’t as adept at returning Ancients to life as we were in Cataclysm. They used the magic contained in the failed and corrupted World Tree Vordrassil. Because of this, Ursoc himself was corrupted, along with his Furbolg followers. Players managed to cleanse the corruption and defeat Ursoc in Grizzly Hills, after which he gave a warning about Yogg-Saron, and vanished. His claws, however, can still be utilized by a Druid powerful enough to wield them.
Restoration: G’Hanir, the Mother Tree
From the official site:
This is a single branch taken from G’Hanir, the first tree, which was gifted to mortal druids by the demigod Aviana long ago. Its connection to the mystical Emerald Dream serves as a healing and stabilizing influence on the world of Azeroth. In recent times, druids have used this staff to hold back the corruption and madness of the Nightmare. As a result, satyrs within the Nightmare are desperate to see G’Hanir destroyed.
This is a really big deal right here — G’Hanir was the first tree and home to the Ancient Aviana, and its fruit contained seeds for every type of tree on Azeroth. It was also destroyed during the War of the Ancients when Aviana fell…and an acorn from the tree was used to create the first World Tree, Nordrassil. But G’Hanir wasn’t just the origination of Azeroth’s first World Tree, it also served as an afterlife for every winged creature on Azeroth. When Aviana was returned to life in Cataclysm, G’Hanir was reborn as well, and Aviana reached out to the Arakkoa of Draenor to offer them a place on G’Hanir as well.
Needless to say, this tree is one of the most important pieces of Azeroth’s living history. Nordrassil was infused with power, and it wasn’t just the Well of Eternity that granted it. Archimonde might have been after the Well of Eternity during the Third War, but Nordrassil itself doubtless captured his attention as well. If you think Nordrassil was powerful, imagine carrying around a branch from the tree that was powerful enough to create a World Tree. G’Hanir is being threatened again in Legion, and it’s no wonder — the staff created from G’Hanir’s branch has been successfully used to hold back the Nightmare itself. If just one branch holds that kind of power, how much more is held in G’Hanir itself? Given that we’ll be fighting the Nightmare in Legion, it seems like we’re set to find out.
Druids are one of those cornerstones of Warcraft lore, and in Legion, it seems like we’re going to be seeing more behind this sometimes mysterious class. With the introduction of Val’sharah, the World Tree Shaladrassil, and the resurgence of the Nightmare, Druids are set to be one of the star players of the new expansion. Hopefully some of the mysteries surrounding the class, the Nightmare, the Ancients, and maybe even the Titans will finally be explained as well.
Just in case you missed them, don’t forget to check out our coverage of the other Artifact weapons we’ll be seeing in Legion:
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