Know Your Lore: N’Zoth
Some argue he is the weakest of the Old Gods. Still others that he is the last of the Old Gods free to work on Azeroth. These contradictions sum up the nightmare that is N’Zoth — the manipulator and exploiter, the dark voice in the endless crushing depths, the master of the sunken city. Yogg-Saron opened the way into the Emerald Dream for the Old Gods. But it was N’Zoth who was the Nightmare’s master. The infection that empowered Xavius, and threatened the world. N’Zoth has never been seen or faced, not even an echo or remnant of him. While Y’Shaarj, C’Thun and Yogg-Saron have in one way or another made themselves known in the age of mortals, N’Zoth still lurks out in the fathoms.
N’Zoth’s day comes closer and closer. But what do we actually know about him?
Old Gods and the Black Empire
Before the Old Gods, the Void Lords sought a means to corrupt the world-souls of nascent Titans. The Titans were the greatest impediment to the Void Lords’ plan to extinguish all Light in the cosmos. The Void Lords believed it would be best if nothing ever arose. Knowing that the Titans would stand in the way of their scheme to eradicate existence, the Void Lords took action.
But they were beings of utter negation — pure nothingness. They could not directly enter our reality easily. Instead, they created parasites and flung them into the material cosmos. Creatures like packets of pure malice, streaking through the Great Dark Beyond. Entities of madness that defied the rules of existence as we understand them.
Four of them landed on Azeroth that we currently know of. Y’Shaarj, Yogg-Saron, Cthun and N’Zoth. There, they found the world contested by four rampaging elemental lords. These beings were known as Ragnaros, Al’Akir, Neptulon and Therazane. They fought constant battles against one another, as Azeroth was a world with a gestating world-soul within it. The world-soul needed all the spirit energy the world could spare. On such a world, elementals fought by their very nature.
N’Zoth and the other Old Gods unleashed their N’raqi and Aqir minions from their own bodies, seeping blighted fluid that gave birth to these monstrous races. Around the towering hulk of the Old God’s colossal forms, each embedded like a pustule in Azeroth’s surface. The N’raqi led the Aqir in gargantual efforts to raise citadels, palaces and temples in honor of their masters. And when the lords of the elements noticed these newcomers and attacked, the Old Gods sent their minions to do battle against the armies of the elemental lords.
An Empire falls
During this time, N’Zoth fought wars with both C’Thun and Yogg-Saron. He even waged a pitched battle against Y’Shaarj, the mightiest of the Old Gods. It was a battle he lost, in what is now the Broken Isles. Azeroth slipped ever deeper into what looked to be an endless night. One which would end when the Old Gods finally burrowed deeply enough into the world. There, they would poison Azeroth, enough that the world-soul would be forever corrupted into a Void Titan and usher in the end of all things.
But the Titans intervened.
Arrival of the Titans
The Titans discovered the state of Azeroth shortly after Sargeras’ departure. When Aggramar and Eonar insisted that the world-soul within the planet had to be saved, they came up with a plan. Being Titans, they knew that direct intervention might well destroy the world they wanted to save. And so instead they created an army of Titan-Forged and sent it to Azeroth to defeat the forces of the Old Gods. The Titan-Forged did their work well, first confronting and defeating the Old Gods’ elemental lord slaves before turning to advance on Y’Shaarj.
Perhaps if the Old Gods had united in opposition they could have defeated the Titan-Forged. But perhaps not, for at the height of the battle Aman’Thul himself reached down and tore Y’Shaarj bodily from the surface of Azeroth, ripping the Old God apart in the process. The death of Y’Shaarj left a gaping wound in the world that would in time become known as the Well of Eternity. Instead of attempting to repeat this act and potentially killing the entity they were attempting to save, the Titans chose a policy of containment. And it was N’Zoth who first fell under attack by the armies of stone and metal that now marched east into his domain. His N’raqi and Aqir forces fought fiercely, but in the end N’Zoth was beaten and chained beneath the surface of the world.
In time, so too were his rivals Yogg-Saron and C’thun. As the Titan-Forged set to repair the world, N’Zoth and his bloated kin slept fitfully in their chains.
But asleep or not, they did not lie still.
Of the Old Gods, N’Zoth seemed the least involved in our world. While both C’Thun and Yogg-Saron made plans and sent minions forth into the world, he seemed to remain still. No armies of N’Zoth were seen on the surface. Some argue that it was N’Zoth who corrupted Deathwing (or at least helped with it) and turned Azshara into the first of the Naga during the War of the Ancients. When Yogg-Saron corrupted Loken and the World-Tree Andrassil, creating the first pathway for the Old Gods into the Emerald Dream, N’Zoth seemed to be nowhere to be seen. When C’Thun began the War of the Shifting Sands, N’Zoth was not involved. And so, as each of the Old Gods encountered and was defeated by mortals — C’Thun in Ahn’Qiraj, Yogg-Saron in Ulduar — N’Zoth was left untouched.
We heard stirrings of his name, of course. Zon’ozz, his servant, took part in Deathwing’s assault on Wyrmrest Temple. Then we finally encountered Xavius and the Emerald Nightmare, and at last N’Zoth’s name was uttered, his influence was laid bare. But even stopping the Emerald Nightmare itself doesn’t seem to have hindered N’Zoth. If anything, it may have awakened the dreaming Old God for the first time since the Titan-Forged imprisoned him. But with the Legion assaulting our world, there hasn’t been time to deal with it. Azeroth may be fitful in her sleep now, for N’Zoth wakes, and as an evil dagger once said, his failures always seem to rebound to his advantage. With Y’Shaarj dead and C’Thun and Yogg-Saron ‘dead’, now could be the time for N’Zoth to finally rise.
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