Know Your Lore: Paladin Artifact lore in Legion
When talking about the Artifact weapons of Legion and the lore that’s being revealed for them, Paladin Artifacts are some of the most interesting, touching upon the origin of the Order of the Silver Hand and the fate of Watcher Tyr, the missing Watcher from Ulduar. They also reveal some interesting hints about the Tirisfal Glades, the possible origins of Uldaman, and even the Broken Isles and the role of Watcher Odyn that we discussed in last week’s column.
In fact, as much as the Ashbringer is considered one of the most noteworthy and coolest of the Artifacts, in terms of pure lore, I actually think the other two Paladin specializations are getting Artifacts that are a lot more interesting.
What secrets are revealed by this panoply of Light?
The Silver Hand
From the official site:
As one of the titanic watchers, Keeper Tyr bore this weapon in countless battles against the titans’ enemies. When one of his fellow keepers, Loken, fell to corruption, Tyr and his allies stole the Discs of Norgannon to investigate the extent of Loken’s betrayal. Discovering the theft, Loken sent horrific monsters after Tyr’s group, but Tyr sacrificed his life to fight the creatures while his comrades escaped with the discs. His hammer was lost with him somewhere beneath the land now named in his honor: Tirisfal.
Okay, remember that C’Thraxxian monstrosity underneath Tirisfal? Well, was it one of these very horrific monsters, the ones Loken sent after Tyr? Also, it says Tyr and his allies, which we’ll hear more about later — what does this mean for the origins of Humans on the Eastern Kingdoms? In the past we were led to believe that a rag-tag group of refugees fled to what is now Tyr’s Hand, led by a few kindly Vrykul who didn’t want to kill their own children, and they discovered some old legends of Tyr. But perhaps they were following in the footsteps of these same allies? Perhaps Humans already had a colony in the Eastern Kingdoms, one founded by them?
This is huge, whatever the case is. First off, it confirms that Tyr went down swinging fighting Old God monsters while Archaedas escaped with the Discs of Norgannon. It confirms the connection between Tyr and the Paladin tradition of Humanity, it implies a lot for how Humans ended up in the Eastern Kingdoms — maybe they weren’t just refugee babies escaping the death sentence from King Ymiron, but Tyr and Archaedas’ companions and disciples — and it throws a whole new light on Uldaman and its purpose. Was Uldaman where those Watchers who knew Loken was corrupt fled to? Did they construct it as a last bastion, or just take it over? Why did Tyr steal the Discs in the first place?
It definitely seems that Thoradin was entering the Tomb of Tyr himself to battle that C’Thraxxi. Why? Was it Tyr’s death and the Old God monstrosities that destroyed him that drove the first High Elves that tried to settle in Tirisfal mad? Perhaps Tyr drove them out, but allowed the Human descendants of his original followers to stay, hoping they would avenge him.
From the official site:
The titanic watchers Tyr and Archaedas created this shield when their comrade, Loken, fell to corruption. They gave Truthguard to a vrykul champion who used it to expose Loken’s treachery. When Tyr and his allies later stole the Discs of Norgannon and fled, the champion stayed behind and held off many of Loken’s servants. A desperate Loken sent horrific monsters after Tyr, who fell in combat. In time the vrykul champion migrated to Stormheim in the Broken Isles, where the shield was eventually entombed in the Path of Kings.
Okay, this? Right here? This builds on what we just saw with the Silver Hand. It implies so much about why Odyn was down in Stormheim, why the Vrykul went down there. Remember, the Broken Isles are close to Tirisfal — when Gul’dan went to raise the Tomb of Sargeras, he did so from Tirisfal as it was the closest place available to him. Now we’re seeing that Tyr and Archaedas empowered a Vrukul to expose Loken. What does this mean for the history of the Vrykul on Azeroth? Were Tyr and Archaedas trying to reach Odyn, maybe to join forces and defeat Loken? Had Thorim entered his long sulk after Sif’s death by then? There’s so much here.
Again we’re forced to question if Loken was the original Prime Designate of Azeroth. We know Ra-Den was considered one of the Titans’ favored servitors (the Mogu knew him as Master Ra) and now we know about Odyn, who also seems like a good candidate for Prime Designate. Did Loken have to arrange for suitable distractions to seize power? Was that Yogg-Saron’s plan all along, to prop a puppet into the role? Why? And what did the Discs of Norgannon have to do with it?
One thing is for sure, we really messed up when we killed Archaedas. What could he have told us about Human origins?
From the official site:
King Magni Bronzebeard forged the Ashbringer from a piece of crystal purified by wielders of the Holy Light. This gave the sword strange Light-bearing powers. It was named for its ability to slaughter undead, leaving nothing but ash in its wake. Ashbringer passed through several hands, serving both Light and Shadow, before it came to the legendary paladin Tirion Fordring, who used it to shatter the Lich King’s runeblade, Frostmourne, on the top of Icecrown Citadel. Tirion has carried Ashbringer with him ever since.
Honestly, after the other two Artifacts, this one doesn’t bring much if any new lore. We know what it is, we know where it is, we know who made it and what it does and who has it now. The only surprise will be in seeing how we get it. Does Tirion just say “I’m too old” and hand it over? Does he die? And there’s not even any mystery to its origin… except one big one. What is that crystal? An Orc Warlock was using it when Alexandros Mograine got a hold of it, and it was so full of evil that it withered his hand to touch it, a wound that refused to heal until several bearers of the Light attempted to destroy it with the Light itself. Only when they purified the crystal did it heal Alexandros’ hand and spirit.
Is the crystal one of the legendary Ata’mal Crystals? Is it a piece of a Naaru, or a baby Naaru? What is it? I think that’s the biggest question and the most important lore we could learn from this Artifact and I hope we finally do.
Paladin Artifacts force us to really examine a lost period in Azeroth’s history. Next week, we’ll look at the legacy of Master Ra and other Shaman Artifacts.
Just in case you missed them, don’t forget to check out our coverage of the other Artifact weapons we’ll be seeing in Legion:
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