Know Your Lore: The legacy of Tyr
He was the lone champion of Azeroth’s mortal races. Mightiest of the Titan-Forged, he stood at the dawn of time at the forefront of the vast army of Titan creations. Alongside his “brother” Odyn, Tyr struck down Ragnaros and led the charge in battle after battle against the spawn of the Old Gods. Tyr helped chain those colossal monstrosities deep within the world and served as Azeroth was shaped to shepherd her world-soul to maturity. Empowered by Aggramar, Tyr displayed similar qualities of care for others. When the other Keepers grew weary of their endless vigil, only Tyr stayed resolute.
Tyr’s legacy is vast. Azeroth would be a very different place today if it were not from Aggramar’s chosen.
The death of the Black Empire
The origins of the Titan-Forged lie in the necessity of the Black Empire’s annihilation. Left unchecked, the Old God infection would infest the world-soul and Azeroth would give birth to a Void Titan, an entity of unfathomable power and madness that could well help unmake creation in the service of the Void Lords. But direct intervention on Azeroth could prove costly — the Titans are, well, Titanic. The scale of beings such as Aggramar or Eonar is such that they could not act on the planet without risking harm to the nascent Titan gestating within the world.
Thus the Titan-Forged were born. Crafted and imbued by the Titans to destroy the Old Gods, they were proxies, able to go where their vast creators could not. Several of the first among them were directly empowered by the Pantheon of the Titans with special power and responsibility, and Tyr was the one chosen by Aggramar.
Tyr and his “brother,” Odyn, took the battle to the Elemental Lord Ragnaros in the lead up to the war against the Old Gods and their Black Empire, and together they defeated and bound the Firelord. Tyr fought in every battle of the war, helped usher in the destruction of Y’Shaarj and the imprisonment of the other Old Gods, and took part in the shaping and ordering of Azeroth that followed.
But over the eons, Tyr began to be disquieted.
The Dragonflights born
Azeroth was a living world, one which was home to many living things, and Tyr noted with unease how distant he and his fellow Watchers were growing from those lives. This seemed unacceptable to Tyr, for the living beings of Azeroth were all part of the design and needed to be protected. How could Watchers who were growing too weary to pay attention do their jobs? He looked upon the Keepers and found them little better — Thorim engaged in his sport, Mimiron with his inventions, Loken brooding, Odyn as Prime Designate more interested in remembering the past deeds of valor than attending to his duties. He and others — his allies Jotun, Archaedas and Ironaya — watched all this and grew upset with the implications. If the Watchers failed in their tasks, who would take them up?
The rise of the dread proto-drake Galakrond was an illustration of Tyr’s concerns — although it also might have been because of his meddling to some degree based on some vague statements he made to five proto-drakes that would come to be known later as Aspects. As the creature rampaged throughout the north, they mutated wildly and consumed life energies from other proto-drakes. Its victims gained a hideous anti-life, some of the first undead on Azeroth. Galakrond swelled to an enormous size, making it a menace no single proto-drake could hope to defeat. And the other Watchers did nothing.
Tyr himself was involved in Galakrond’s defeat, although it cost him his hand, and he had to be rescued by his allies after Galakrond’s bite. Jotun helped him craft a hand of silver to replace the one he’d lost. Having seen the proto-drakes in action, Tyr was now more convinced than ever that Azeroth needed guardians that were attuned to the world in a way he and the Keepers were not. They were beings that were part of Azeroth, not merely created to shepherd it. And so he brought his conviction to the other Keepers. Odyn, the Prime Designate, opposed Tyr’s plan as he felt that no mortal creatures could be trusted with the responsibility. But the other Keepers came to side with Tyr. Thus were the five proto-drakes that fought Galakrond transformed into the Dragon Aspects, each charged with power over a certain aspect of creation to use in defending Azeroth.
Tyr’s decision led to much — Odyn’s creation of the Val’kyr Helya and the Valarjar was a direct reaction to it, for example — but Tyr found himself soon occupied with other matters.
The madness of Loken
Tyr was somewhat isolated from the other Keepers due to his greater interest in the lives of mortal beings. As Loken fell to the maddening whispers of Yogg-Saron and misfortunes began to befall the other Keepers — Thorim’s wife slain, Mimiron nearly killed and rebuilt by his Mecha-gnome servants as best they could, Odyn imprisoned in the Halls of Valor — Tyr was one of the few Keepers to suspect the truth. Joined by Archaedas, the two hid in secret in the Storm Peaks along with Ironaya so that they could learn what Loken planned.
Over the years they witnessed the effects of the Curse of Flesh as the Vrykul servants of Loken spread the contagion, causing many of the Vrykul to become mortal beings. When Tyr saw that Loken was oppressing these enfleshed Vrykul, using the Winterskorn tribe as cat’s paws, he determined to act. Tyr and his allies took part in the conflict, forging the shield Truthguard for the former Winterskorn Vrykul Yrgrim the Truthseeker. He then enlisted the aid of the Dragon Aspects Ysera and Nozdormu to stop the war, and put the Winterskorn into an enchanted sleep.
In the end, Tyr and his allies could see no way to end the hostilities with Loken. While not the true Prime Designate, Loken controlled Ulduar. Even with Yrgrim’s aid in converting many Vrykul to their side, the three rebel Watchers simply could not break Loken’s forces. Nor were they even sure that Loken was the real threat. They resolved to learn more. Within Ulduar were the Discs of Norgannon, self-compiling records of the true history of Azeroth. They would, by their very nature, contain a record of Loken’s actions and his true allegiance. With Yrgrim’s aid, they staged a diversionary challenge. While the Vrykul fought, the three Watchers stole the Discs and fled, to a long-abandoned research facility in the south. Yrgrim held off many of Loken’s forces with Truthguard, letting the rebel trio escape.
The Path of Tyr and Tyr’s Fall
Loken, of course, was fully aware that he had accepted too much aid from Yogg-Saron. If the Constellar Algalon ever returned to Azeroth, Loken would be punished for his transgressions. The Discs would certainly reveal all of his misdeeds if Tyr, Archaedas and Ironaya were allowed to study them. And so Loken called forth two C’thraxxi abominations in service to his master — Zakajz and Kith’ix.
Tyr and his allies had not traveled south alone. Many of the converted Winterskorn Vrykul and Earthen from the Winterskorn War and even a few Mecha-gnomes had followed the three. When the C’thraxxi arrived in the south Tyr knew that these followers could not survive. If he and his allies all perished there would be no hope of defeating Loken and salvaging the Azeroth experiment. Tyr therefore chose to do as he had always done, and ordered his allies to depart while he stayed to fight.
Alone, Tyr made his stand against two of Yogg-Saron’s mightiest, and made them pay for his life. Zakajz died in the battle, and Kith’ix was wounded badly — so badly that it would limp across the world before collapsing in the south, in what would one day become Stranglethorn Vale. But Tyr, too, paid the price with his life. The place of his death would become known first as Tyr’s Fall, and later Tirisfal, by the descendants of those that had accompanied him.
In time, as the Curse of Flesh continued to wreak havoc in the north, other Vrykul fled King Ymiron of the Dragonflayer clan. Ymiron rose to prominence following the Winterskorn war. He viewed the children born to the Vrykul who were still suffering the Curse of Flesh as abominations. He demanded these inferior creatures be exposed to die, rather than pollute the Vrkul people with their weakness. Many did this, but some refused, and took their children south to follow the path Tyr and his allies traced. A few even reached Tirisfal, and added to the legend of Tyr among the Humans that were born to them.
The legacy of Tyr
Tyr’s legacy includes the Dragonflights, for better and worse. Without Tyr there would have been no Alexstrasza, no Ysera, no Nozdormu… but also no Malygos and no Deathwing. As important and lasting a legacy as the Aspects were, however, it is in the presence of Dwarves, Gnomes and Human in the Eastern Kingdoms that Tyr’s influence is truly felt. While all three of these races would become important and help shape Azeroth’s history, Tyr’s name and legend became part of Humanity. The culture of sacrifice he helped inspire led to the creation of the Knights of the Silver hand, the order of Paladins that have defended Azeroth through wars and invasions ever since their inception.
Tyr was a tireless defender of the right of mortal beings to choose their own fate and defend their own world. His life was spent in service to Azeroth, and his death made it possible for the Discs of Norgannon to be preserved, for Yogg-Saron and Loken to ultimately be thwarted, and for Azeroth to endure.
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