Know Your Lore: Warlock Artifact lore in Legion
When it comes to new weapons in Legion, the Warlock Artifact lore we’ve been given stands in a strange place — but then, so do Warlocks. As heroes of Azeroth, Warlocks have always been questionable at best, commanding the fel powers of the Burning Legion in order to use their own weapons against them. Despite the merits of what might sound like a noble cause, there’s always the chance of corruption lurking just around the corner. Even so, Warlocks are still accepted among the ranks of Azeroth’s armies — for who better understands what we’re up against, than those who have first-hand experience with the horrors the Burning Legion commands?
And because of their affinity for darker magic, Warlocks have three weapons, all with equally horrifying backgrounds to choose from. The lore behind the Artifact weapons is all new, but for two of these weapons, the lore surrounding them hails back to stories we already know…stories that apparently still have tangled threads of secrets left to unravel.
Affliction: Ulthalesh, The Deadwind Harvester
From the official site:
The first necrolyte to walk the world of Azeroth, Satiel, was given this scythe by the titan Sargeras himself. It grows in power as it draws souls from its victims. The Harvester earned its name as Satiel methodically drained all life from the hapless inhabitants of Deadwind Pass, creating a potent magical nexus there in the process. Hunting down Satiel, the Guardian of Tirisfal turned the scythe on her, sending her soul to join those of her victims. Eventually the Dark Riders recovered the weapon and secreted it beneath the tower of Karazhan.
One of those unanswered questions in Warcraft lore has always been the matter of Deadwind Pass and Karazhan. We know the place is leeched of life, we know the tower existed long before Medivh actually took up residence in it, but we never really knew how either of these events came to pass. Well now we’ve got a partial answer — since Satiel was given this weapon by Sargeras himself, it stands to reason these events likely took place at some point either prior to the Sundering and during the War of the Ancients, or when the Avatar of Sargeras was wreaking havoc on the world before Aegwynn defeated him.
Those are two vastly different periods of history, so trying to pinpoint an exact time is a little useless — for all we know, Sargeras’ avatar could have been wandering the world undiscovered at many different points in Azeroth’s history. Here’s the important part: Satiel, and her unique weapon, are directly responsible for the creation of Deadwind Pass. She was also responsible for the crater and the nexus of magical energy that Karazhan was built upon, although there’s no indicator that she actually built Karazhan itself.
More importantly, Medivh always had a theory about that crater in Deadwind Pass — that the explosion happened because he would one day come to live there. If Sargeras did in fact supply this weapon to Satiel personally, that could very well be the case: Sargeras gave the means for the explosion to Satiel, so that when his plans to inhabit a mortal came to fruition, that mortal host had somewhere suitably powerful to live.
Demonology: Skull of the Man’ari
From the official site:
Before the eredar served the titan Sargeras, one of their greatest leaders, Thal’kiel, had unprecedented skill with summoning and binding magics. Driven by ambition, he reached into the Void and was answered with knowledge of dark creatures unlike any the eredar had seen before. His audacious power grab infuriated the demon lord Archimonde, who struck him down, then had his skull gilded and placed on display as a warning. Today the dreadlord Mephistroth uses it to enhance his ability to summon and command demon armies for the Legion.
The most interesting thing about this particular weapon is that the description seemingly contradicts itself in several places. We’ve long been told that Archimonde, Velen and Kil’jaeden were the leaders of Argus, but here we’ve got another eredar who was apparently in an influential leadership role before Sargeras came calling. And then in the same paragraph we’re told that the “demon lord” Archimonde struck him down…but Archmonde wasn’t a demon lord until after Sargeras recruited the eredar into the Burning Legion.
This might be a mistake, or it might just mean there was a vast, vast period of time between when Thal’kiel started diving into the Void, and when the situation got bad enough that Archimonde finally took notice. But note that it specifically mentions Thal’kiel reaching into the Void — there’s two implications here. One, there were in fact Old Gods on Argus, and Thal’kiel decided to play with their Void magic. Two, there was a darkened naaru on or somewhere close enough to Argus that Thal’kiel could access that power. We know that the Ata’mal crystal Velen used to contact K’ure way back before Argus’ fall was an artifact of the naaru — one that was bestowed to the eredar, or came into their possession, long before Velen ever came into power. The eredar didn’t even know what the naaru were at that point in time, anymore than they knew the origins of their own race. They were that long-lived.
So the story of Thal’kiel seems a little odd for a race that, for the most part, has been portrayed in a positive light prior to Sargeras’ arrival. They were powerful, yes, they were ancient, yes, but I suppose, given Thal’kiel’s tale and also how easily both Kil’jaeden and Archimonde agreed to Sargeras’ offer, the eredar were just as easily corrupted as any other species in the universe. While the rest of the story regarding the Skull of the Man’ari involves the Burning Legion, it does make one wonder if maybe somewhere in Legion, we’ll see more information about the origins of the eredar, how they came to be.
Destruction: Scepter of Sargeras
From the official site:
Created through incredible effort by hundreds of Sargeras’ servants, this scepter can rip open dimensional gateways between worlds. It was entombed beneath the sea for centuries, then used by the orc shaman Ner’zhul to open the portals that tore the world of Draenor apart, leaving behind the shattered realm of Outland. The scepter was finally secured by the elite magi of the Kirin Tor. Unable to destroy it, they hid it away in a magically protected chamber and put it under eternal watch to prevent it from ever being used again.
This beautiful piece of Artifact weaponry is the essence of destruction boiled into a single, terrifying object. The Scepter of Sargeras is the thing that tore Draenor apart. It is the reason that Outland exists. The fact that we are going to just hand that over to a Warlock — albeit a hero of the Alliance or Horde — is slightly disconcerting, to say the least. In Beyond the Dark Portal, this thing was held by a demon on the Broken Isles. The demon was killed by agents of Ner’zhul, and the Scepter was then taken through the Dark Portal to Ner’zhul himself, who used it along with the Book of Medivh and the Eye of Dalaran to create the portals that ripped Draenor asunder.
What’s interesting is that somewhere after that occurred, the Scepter fell into the hands of the Kirin Tor. Mind you, it doesn’t say how long it took the Kirin Tor to get the item — they might not have gotten their hands on the thing until we visited Outland in Burning Crusade. But you’d think an item that could tear worlds to shreds would be the last thing we’d want to use against the Burning Legion, if for no other reason than to keep the thing from falling back into their hands.
What does that mean? It means the situation in Legion is dire indeed — dire enough that we’re pulling out all the stops and utilizing weapons that no one in their right mind would even think about wielding. But then, Warlocks aren’t necessarily always in their right mind, are they? And with the way the Legion expansion is shaping up, that might just be exactly what we need.
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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