Know Your Lore: High General Turalyon
Every now and again, you run into mentions of larger-than-life characters in WoW. Major lore figures that held considerable significance in Warcraft’s story, but don’t actually appear in game. More often than not, it’s because these characters are deceased — Anduin Lothar, Terenas Menethil, Uther the Lightbringer, the list goes on.
But one of the most enigmatic groups of mysterious figures was a question mark in history. Their presence, however, could not be ignored. Their statues lined the entrance to Stormwind, each marked with a plaque that declared they were “presumed deceased.” When we traveled through the Dark Portal in Burning Crusade, we found most of this heroic group, but not all. High General Turalyon and Alleria Windrunner were absent, their location a mystery.
It’s a mystery that lingered on through another four expansions after Burning Crusade. Many players wondered: Where was Turalyon? In Legion, we finally have our answer. But why is Turalyon so important — why were people so fascinated with finding him in the first place? For that, we have to go back to the Second War.
From Priest to Paladin
Turalyon was originally a Priest — and he was hand-picked by Alonsus Faol to become one of the first five Knights of the Silver Hand. He was in incredibly auspicious company. Tirion Fordring, Saidan Dathrohan, Uther, and shortly after that, Gavinrad the Dire. Why Faol had faith in him, Turalyon didn’t know. And when Anduin Lothar chose Turalyon to be his lieutenant, he was even more baffled. Why, when presented with a choice of much more notable names, would Lothar choose him?
But there was something about Turalyon that Lothar liked. He had faith, but not the blinding zeal that the others possessed. He was more relatable — he was the type of man that could lead. Young, yes, but loyal, and possessing the kind of agile mind needed for quick thinking and problem solving. He had little experience, but he was willing to work all the harder for it.
Turalyon bonded with Khadgar almost immediately. While Khadgar looked like an elderly man, he was in fact near Turalyon’s age. He wasn’t like any Mage Turalyon had ever met — he possessed none of the pomp and standoffishness of other magic users. The two quickly formed a close friendship, and Turalyon often turned to Khadgar for advice and support.
Lothar’s trust in the young man was not misplaced. Although he may have been uncertain to begin with, Turalyon quickly picked up the intricacies of war, leading several successful battles. With each battle, he gained more confidence. Despite seeming victory at one point, the Horde was soon on the run, with the Alliance on their heels the entire way — all the way to Blackrock Mountain.
There, the Horde turned and struck, taking the Alliance by surprise. Doomhammer, the leader of the Horde, deliberately sought out Lothar. He thought that killing the Alliance leader would deflate the troops and ultimately win the war for the Horde. The two came together in a mighty clash of weapons — and Anduin Lothar’s blade shattered from the impact. Doomhammer’s blow crushed Lothar’s helm, and the Lion of Azeroth fell. The Horde was triumphant.
Or they would have been, were it not for Turalyon. For somewhere in those precious seconds after Lothar’s body hit the ground, Turalyon found his faith — utterly and completely. In fact, he lit up like a beacon on the battlefield, nearly blinding Orc and Human alike in the Light’s radiance. Between one moment and the next he knocked Doomhammer unconscious, to be taken to Capital City and judged for his crimes. And then he took up Lothar’s shattered blade, pointed it at the remainder of the Horde, and ordered the attack.
It was an utter rout. The Orcs died, surrendered, or outright fled, and the Alliance stood triumphant. In the aftermath, Turalyon stepped up to lead the Alliance forces. Nobody protested — Turalyon had more than earned the position, and it was what Lothar would have wanted. After one more battle at the Dark Portal, the war was over, and the Alliance had won.
The Light speaks
Two years after the Dark Portal had been supposedly destroyed, it began to show renewed signs of activity. Turalyon gathered his forces and traveled to Nethergarde Keep, arriving just in time to see the place under attack. It was odd — there were far fewer Orcs than expected. After capturing one of the Orcs, they realized why.
The entire attack was a distraction — the Horde wasn’t returning to conquer Azeroth. They were looking for powerful artifacts to take back to Draenor. Once there, they could open portals and conquer other worlds — countless worlds, making each suffer as Azeroth had suffered. Turalyon was nearly overwhelmed at the thought, and then:
The pounding of his heart suddenly paused.
And in that place of pure, brilliant light, he saw a figure that was light—the Light—itself. It hovered and glowed, gleaming as if its form was hard and crystalline but also soft, unspeakably soft, as soft as a tear, as soft as forgiveness, as soft as Alleria’s pale skin. Golden strands draped the being, and Turalyon could not tell at first if they were leading from or to the creature— and then he understood, it was both. All that was, was this being, and this being, was everything. Awe flooded him and he drank in the sight of this beautiful, luminous being, feeling it fill him with hope and calm as if he were an empty vessel.
Do not despair, came a voice like bells, like chimes, like the sigh of the ocean. The Light is with you. We are with you. No matter how vast the darkness, Light will scatter it. No matter what world, no matter what creature, the Light is there, in that place, in that soul. Know this, and go forward with a joyful heart, Turalyon.
Turalyon was a protector — it was his duty, the innocent were his charge. But that duty hardly ended at Azeroth. While his men broached the idea of simply letting the Horde go, never to be seen again, Turalyon refused to let that happen. Save Azeroth, at the expense of unknown other worlds, countless innocent lives? It was unthinkable. The Horde had to be stopped. And in order to accomplish that, they had to go through the Dark Portal — to Draenor.
The Sons of Lothar gathered, and made their way through — Khadgar, Danath Trollbane, Kurdran Wildhammer, and Alleria Windrunner joined Turalyon along with a small contingent of troops. Once on the other side, they worked quickly to figure out how to stop Ner’zhul from using the stolen artifacts. Although they fought valiantly, they were too late to prevent Ner’zhul’s ritual. Portals — far too many for the world to handle — tore open across Draenor, and in turn, tore the world apart.
In the end, the only thing they could do was close the Dark Portal…this time, on Draenor’s side. The group managed to survive Draenor’s near-destruction, but lost the ability to return home. There they remained, on Outland, with little hope of ever returning home — their names reduced to plaques on statues that lined the gates of Stormwind, their heroic deeds etched in memory.
Army of the Light
Years later, we returned to Outland. While we rediscovered the Alliance Expedition, Turalyon and Alleria were nowhere to be seen. Supposedly they’d vanished at some point after a lost battle; disappearing three years or so after the Dark Portal had been closed. But now, years later, they’ve reappeared, members of the Army of the Light. And it’s little surprise, given what we know of Turalyon.
His charge to protect the innocent wasn’t limited to Azeroth. The naaru spoke to him — there’s little doubt that was the voice he heard in Beyond the Dark Portal. Despite his beginnings and his seeming lack of zeal for the Light, Turalyon mastered it in a way no one had ever seen before. Uther may have been the Lightbringer, but Turalyon was the Light. It shone from his eyes, it radiated from his skin.
Make no mistake; Turalyon was marked for this from the very beginning. Lothar’s death only steeled his resolve and unleashed the power he’d been carrying all along. And perhaps that’s what Alonsus Faol saw that day, when he looked upon his followers and chose three well-known fighters, and one uncertain and untried young man. Perhaps Faol knew, somewhere deep inside, that in the darkest hours of the universe, the Priest would outshine them all.
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