Know Your Lore: The unknown
There’s an old phrase, popularized a few years back: there are the things we know, the things we know we don’t know, and the things we don’t know we don’t know. In other words, sometimes you’re aware of your ignorance, and sometimes you aren’t. Why am I talking about this? Because in the wake of the Tomb of Sargeras, we’re facing a host of new questions that, not too long ago, we didn’t even know needed to be asked.
Here are a couple of plot threads I’ve been thinking about since the Tomb opened.
The temple of Elune’s origins
The Tomb of Sargeras was once known as the Temple of Elune — perhaps the first such Temple, the original place where the Night Elves came to worship of the goddess. What we’re seeing as we go deeper into the Tomb are clear signs of possible Titan construction.
This room in particular, with places for the Pillars of Creation, seems very much akin to Ulduar. Its ability to open and seal portals to other worlds makes us wonder — what was the Temple of Elune originally designed to do? Why does this room exist? What are the Pillars intended for? Why does this clearly Titan structure have windows akin to Ulduar’s stained glass depicting what appear to be four Night Elves holding the Pillars aloft?
We know that the ancient Kaldorei were born when they reached the shores of the Well of Eternity. Well, Suramar and the Temple of Elune were on the shores of the Well. Why? What did the Titans make the Temple to do? What did they use the Pillars for? Was it finding the Temple itself that led to the existence of the Kaldorei — were they created as the Dark Trolls entered the structure? Was the change to the Night Elves an accident of arcane power or were they changed to suit some purpose no one today remembers?
We already knew we didn’t know much about Elune. But it may be that we know even less about her than we realized. Each of the Pillars of Creation is named after one of the Titans — the Aegis of Aggramar, the Tidestone of Golganneth, the Eye of Amanthul, the Hammer of Khaz’goroth — save the Tears of Elune. If the Titans gave the Pillars to the Keepers to use in shaping Azeroth after the defeat of the Black Empire, why is one of the Pillars named after Elune? Why do neither Eonar nor Norgannon have a Pillar named after them?
Indeed, everything we’ve seen of Elune in this expansion — her purification of the Tear of Elune that corrupted Ysera, her seeming intervention to raise Ysera’s spirit into the heavens (which we later see in the Emerald Dream) — makes me wonder. If Elune raised Ysera, how did her spirit end up in the Emerald Dream, which was created by Freya, the Titan Keeper who was empowered by Eonar? It was Freya who channeled the power of Eonar into Ysera (and Alexstrasza for that matter) when the Aspects were created. In a way, Eonar could be said to be the creator of the Emerald Dream.
What connection does Elune have with Eonar? Are they the same being?
What is Azshara doing?
The fact that there are Naga in the Tomb isn’t a sign of an alliance between the Naga and the Legion, although a few Naga have made such a deal. No, Queen Azshara has instead sent Mistress Sassz’ine and her followers to the Tomb in order to reclaim the Tidestone of Golganneth.
Does she still work for the Old Gods — and if so, is this something they want?
Is she an independent operator now and this is wholly for herself?
When the Legion invaded Azeroth 10,000 years ago, Azshara was Queen of the Kaldorei Empire. It was her servant Xavius (yes, the same Xavius) that first made contact with the Legion. It was her decision to ally with the Legion and remake Azeroth in her own perfect image as the consort to Sargeras, the only being in creation she thought worthy to be her mate. The horrors that the Legion inflicted on the Night Elves were aided and abetted by Azshara, their beloved Queen and a power in her own right. A power so great that Mannoroth himself didn’t think anyone but Archimonde could stand against her.
When the Well of Eternity imploded, Azshara was saved from death by the intervention of the Old Gods. It was by their power that she and her people were remade as the reptilian Naga, sea-serpents at home in the ocean’s depths. But her relationship with the Tidestone of Golganneth goes back further than that. When Prince Farondis of Azsuna defied Azshara and attempted to rally the mages of the Narthalas Academy to oppose her, she shattered the Tidestone and used it to bind their spirits eternally so that they could never know the release of death, trapped forever as phantasms.
But we still don’t know why she wants the Tidestone now. Her Naga minions use the Tidestone to summon the Wrath of Azshara, a former handmaiden of Azshara who was transformed into an embodiment of vengeance, but we don’t know if that was before or after Azshara became a Naga. Indeed, we know precious little of Azshara’s motivations. Does she seek to thwart the Legion? It seems unlikely, since she sends minions to steal the Tidestone that’s needed to seal their portal. But she just as clearly isn’t working with them, either, and while her forces have assisted the Old Gods in the past, she doesn’t seem all that concerned with them or their minions. What’s more, she wasted no time aiding Xavius, either — it seems that she wants the Tidestone for personal power, but to what end? And why doesn’t she seek any of the other Pillars of Creation?
The Nightborne of Suramar were the remainder of people who defied Azshara and the Legion, and Ellisande was once Azshara’s keeper of relics who turned against her Queen, yet Azshara never seems to care — a few Naga pop up in Suramar, but mostly fight with Vrykul off the coast, never making inroads to try to reclaim the Eye of Aman’thul. Azshara’s game is deep, but we’ve yet to see what it is or who it ultimately benefits — it’s impossible to even see how it benefits her at this point.
Next time, a discussion of the Argus Wake.
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