Know Your Lore: The history of the Tomb of Sargeras
With the news that Patch 7.2 will take us to the Tomb of Sargeras, it seemed like a good idea to finally do a bit of a refresher on the history of the Tomb. We’ve talked about this before, but new information has clarified things since then. This ancient Night Elf structure, formerly part of the grand city of Suramar, was chosen by the Legion to be the site for a second portal during the War of the Ancients. But what do we really know about the Tomb? Why was it named as such? What secrets does it conceal? Well, we’ll learn more when 7.2 comes out, but for now, here’s what we know about this once beautiful temple, now fallen to corruption.
The Temple of Elune
The Temple of Elune in Suramar was one of the largest and most important, the home base of High Priestess Dejanha, the chosen of Elune. It was from this temple that the Sisterhood first came to support Lord Kurtalos Ravencrest and his Kaldorei resistance to the Burning Legion, even as the Highborne and Azshara collaborated with the demonic hordes. It was from this temple that Dejanha trained many — including Maiev Shadowsong — to be members of the Sisterhood. And it was from this temple that one acolyte, a young Night Elf named Tyrande Whisperwind, would be personally chosen to lead the Sisterhood by Elune herself after Dejanha’s passing.
The temple was ancient and had many secrets, dating back to the foundation of the original Night Elf civilization and its origins. We don’t as yet know all of them — we don’t know how the Temple relates to the Tear of Elune or other Titan relics. It certainly resembles Titan structures such as Wyrmrest Temple, and may originally have been part of the now lost path leading from Ulduar south. We do know that after Tyrande’s election and her active role in prosecuting the war, the temple was chosen by the Highborne and their Legion masters for another purpose.
Elisande and the Nightwell
By this time the only power left in Suramar that could oppose the Legion was, ironically enough, Azshara’s own arcanists, servants such as Elisande, who decided to prevent the Legion from using the Temple to open a second portal and move more of their demons through into Azeroth. Today, Elisande is known as Grand Magistrix of the Nightborne, but at the time she was merely one of Azshara’s relic-hunters.
Using the Pillars of Creation, ancient relics of the Titan-Forged, Elisande managed to seal the portal and prevent the Legion from overwhelming the Kaldorei in the process. In the end, the Legion was stopped and the portal closed — but in so doing the portal over the Well of Eternity caused a massive magical implosion. Suramar was only saved from destruction by the use of another of the Pillars, the Eye of Aman’Thul.
The Eye created the Nightwell, and the Nightwell was used to power a magical barrier that safeguarded Suramar from the Legion and the Sundering, but it did not protect the temple. As it lay outside the barrier, the Temple of Elune was dragged to the bottom of the sea by the devastation. Thus the Legion magics that could have opened a second portal were likewise drowned… for a time.
The Avatar and the Tomb
The Temple didn’t see the light of day again until the coming of the Guardian Aegwynn.
We don’t have time to go over the entirety of the Guardian’s history — luckily it’s already been done for us. As part of her duties Aegwynn investigated a force of evil preying on the dragons of Northrend. She confronted the Avatar of Sargeras, and defeated it — but this was all part of the monster’s plan. The essence of Sargeras inhabited Aegwynn’s body for a time before departing to infest her offspring Medivh.
But at the moment of the Avatar’s defeat, Aegwynn was left with a quandry — what was she to do with a body radiating corruption as the Avatar did?
It’s possible Sargeras was already beginning to work on Aegwynn’s body and mind here. Aegwynn was proud, even a little vain. She knew herself to be the greatest mortal wielder of magic alive, and hadn’t she just proved it? In time she would decide the Council of Tirisfal wasn’t worthy of her, and choose to pick her own successor. Was that the Fallen Titan’s influence? Was her choice of the long-drowned Temple where the Legion had nearly brought a second portal into existence the first sign of his plan? We don’t know.
What we do know is this — Aegwynn went to the Broken Isles, called the Temple to the surface, and used the ancient structure as a tomb to hold the Avatar. This is what gave the temple its current name. It seems likely that the essence of Sargeras caused this to happen — placing the fallen Avatar with its fel corruption inside the very structure on Azeroth most likely to allow the Legion’s return. It’s hinted at in the Warlock quest for the Artifact Scepter of Sargeras.
The Modern Era
Since Aegwynn placed the Avatar in the Tomb, the structure has not been idle. She returned it to the depths of the ocean, but during the First and Second War, the Orc Warlock Gul’dan gleaned hints of the structure’s existence and purpose from the mind of a dying Medivh — the host of Sargeras’ essence. The Warlock sought to find the Tomb, betraying the Horde on the eve of its attempt to sack Lordaeron and crush humanity once and for all.
Gul’dan lead his loyal forces to the Tomb, but they were savaged by the demons within it (likely born out of the flesh of the Avatar itself) and did not survive. Further expeditions (Ner’zhul sent minions to retrieve the Scepter of Sargeras that he used to destroy Draenor, and Illidan retrieved the Eye of Sargeras from the Avatar’s resting place) breached the Tomb in succession, but none were fools enough to invoke the ancient rite that the Legion had originally intended.
Not until the Gul’dan from the alternate Draenor of the Iron Horde arrived. Despite Archmage Khadgar’s best efforts, he breached the ancient seals on the Tomn and opened the portal through which the Legion now invades Azeroth. To stop them, once again the Pillars of Creation will need to be brought to bear within this once holy place, as they were ten thousand years ago.
We know we’ll have to invade the Temple in force in order to stop the Legion, but we have yet to see exactly what that will entail. Time will, as always, tell.
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