Know Your Lore: The fate of the Keepers revealed
The Titan-Forged left a huge impact on the history of Azeroth. If you’re playing a Dwarf, a Human, a Worgen, a Gnome or a Forsaken, you’re playing one. Their ranks include the Vrykul, the Earthen, the Mechagnomes, the Tol’vir, the Anubisath, the giants of Azeroth and the Mogu. They created the Forge of Wills and the Forge of Origination, designed vast complexes, prosecuted war against the Old Gods across the surface of Azeroth.
And yet they ultimately failed in their original duty. The Keepers and their Watcher brethren failed to keep their Old God foes imprisoned. Worse, one of them, Keeper Loken, fell under the dark sway of Yogg-Saron. Working under the Death God’s domination, Loken used the Forge of Wills to create an army of new servants who spread Yogg-Saron’s Curse of Flesh to all the Titan-Forged they came into contact with. In time, Loken would take action to incapacitate all of the Keepers of Ulduar that he could reach.
Only three remained free from his grasp. One, Highkeeper Ra, filled the false Prime Designate with panic. Ra was one of the most powerful of the Keepers, easily a rival to Odyn (the true Prime Designate that Loken had used Helya to imprison) and thus, a great danger to his plans. But Ra never returned from his trip south to install the Forge of Origination, even after Loken sent an army of his cursed Titan-Forged to find out what had become of him. Loken stewed in his throne atop the Temple of Wisdom, eaten alive by curiosity and fear. Why was the Highkeeper absent? Where was he? But he didn’t have time to dwell on it.
There were those closer to home who had escaped Loken’s grasp. Tyr, the greatest single combatant of the Keepers, blessed by Aggramar himself with combat prowess; Archaedas, the master of stone and the earth, empowered by mighty Khaz’goroth; and their ally Ironaya, a Watcher. The three of them had watched Loken’s ascent and the circumstances surrounding it with dismay.
The death of Sif and Thorim’s rage that sundered the frost giants from their ancient alliances, the death and recreation of Mimiron, the disappearance of Freya and Hodir, Helya’s betrayal of Odyn, and Loken’s assumption of the title of Prime Designate were all alarming to them. Tyr had always suspected his fellow Keepers of being too isolated from Azeroth’s creatures, too distant from the world they were sworn to protect. It had been why he’d championed the idea of creating the Aspects, of placing in the hands of Azeroth’s own the power to shepherd their world.
He and Archaedas watched in dismay as the Curse of Flesh spread throughout the Titan-Forged races. They did not then know its connection to Loken’s newer Titan-Forged or that Yogg-Saron was behind it, but they knew it was malign, warping their former fellows into beings more easily consumed by the servants of the Old Gods. But when Loken banished all Titan-Forged save for a few of his personal servants from Ulduar, they knew something awful was taking place and at best, the self appointed Prime Designate didn’t care.
The search for Ra
Loken was occupied by a great many things. One was keeping the Constellar Algalon from discovering what he had done. This was achieved by altering Ulduar so that the recall message that would summon the celestial servant of the Titans would not be sent unless the Prime Designate — which Ulduar believed to be Loken — was killed. Loken never questioned why he made his death the key to the return of Algalon, perhaps not wanting to dwell on how it might serve Yogg-Saron’s plans.
But Loken was more afraid that Ra might return. He sent his servants out to find the Highkeeper, and these servants traveled to the distant lands of Uldum and Pandaria, but found no sign of the vanished Keeper. The Tol’vir, Anubisath and Mogu simply did not know where he had gone. None suspected at that time that Ra alone had discerned that the Titans of the Pantheon were slain by Sargeras, and had sealed himself into the Engine of Nalak’sha.
Even Loken didn’t realize that by searching for the Highkeeper, he had doomed him. Ra was gripped by the melancholy of knowing his creators were dead. He had abandoned the work of shaping Azeroth as meaningless. He was, in short, no threat to Loken. But by looking for him, Loken caused the Curse of Flesh to be introduced to the Tol’vir, the Anubisath and the Mogu. All three races began to change, to be diminished by the curse. The Anubisath and Tol’vir within the prison complex holding C’thun were paradoxically spared this fate. But for the Tol’vir in Uldum, proper and the Mogu in Pandaria, soon they found themselves mortal beings of flesh… and the Mogu soon found themselves easy prey for emotions like Pride, Anger, and Fear.
Pride at who they’d been and what they’d accomplished, anger at the curse eating away at their perceived perfection, and fear of their own mortality caused the Mogu to wage war on one another. Greed made them hungry for power. The Sha who infested Pandaria — the remnants of dead Y’Shaarj — drove the Mogu into ceaseless warfare with one another. Finally, one of their kind had the notion that the entity he called Ra-den — Master Ra in the language of the Mogu — had to be found and convinced to help save his people. He braved the Engine of Nalak’sha, and deep in the complex he found Ra-den brooding.
This young warlord, who would become known as Lei-Shen, tried to reason with the Highkeeper. Ra simply took Lei-Shen to the Vale of Eternal Blossoms and shared his secret, that Aman’Thul and the other Titans of the Pantheon were dead. That the essence of the Titan had been extracted and was empowering the waters of the Vale, that there was no hope for Azeroth. So blinded by despair was the Highkeeper that he never saw Lei-Shen’s attack coming.
The young Mogu defeated Ra, a feat that may have been aided by guile and an unsuspecting foe, but which still showed the Mogu’s resolve and tenacity. Defeating the Highkeeper was no small feat — this was the being that had created his people, who had used the Fist of Ra-den to waken the Mogu, who had helped create the Elemental planes, chosen of Aman’Thul himself. Lei-Shen ripped the Keeper’s heart out and consumed his power, and in so doing became a power in the land rivaled only by the other Keepers… and none of them knew what he had done.
The Winterskorn War
Even if Loken had been aware of what was happening far to the south, there were matters closer to home for him to deal with. Some 15,000 years before the First War, Loken felt he had a problem. He’d instructed the fire giants Ignis and Volkhan to deal with the various Titan-Forged in the north of Kalimdor. The Curse of Flesh spreading among them made them contentious and he sought no rivals that close to his base in Ulduar. The fire giants decided to use the Winterskorn tribe of Vrykul to accomplish this task, arming them with magical weapons and armor from their forges in Ulduar.
Seeing how fragile the Curse of Flesh had made the Vrykul, the fire giants sent molten giants to accompany them as they began harrying the other Titan-Forged of the area. This drew the attention of Archaedas, Tyr and Ironaya, who intervened on the behalf of the local Earthen. Tyr and Archaedas created a shield named Truthguard and entrusted it to a Vrykul champion who revealed the truth of Loken’s deception to the Vrykul, and many of them turned on the Winterskorn. After several battles, the Winterskorn appeared routed, but Ignis was determined to do his master’s will. He helped the Winterskorn enslave several proto-drakes and with these the flying Vrykul were soon on the offensive.
In response, Tyr called upon the Dragon Aspects for their aid. Since they owed him a debt (it was through Tyr that they even were the Aspects) they answered his call, and their dragons helped defeat the Winterskorn once and for all. Together, Ysera and Nozdormu banished the Winterskorn into an endless sleep.
Archaedas and Tyr were no longer willing to allow Loken to act unopposed. They stole into Ulduar, took the Discs of Norgannon and fled before the Prime Designate could stop them. Their ally Yrgrim the Truthseeker used the shield Truthseeker to help bar the way so that they could escape, holding off countless minions of Loken in the process.
Along with those Vrykul who had turned on the Winterskorn, and many grateful Earthen and Mechagnomes, Ironaya, Tyr and Archaedas fled the northern reaches of Kalimdor. They headed to the south, out of Loken’s immediate reach, and came to a place close to another ancient Titan facility, one known as Uldaman.
Next week, the death of Tyr, the retreat of the last Keeper, the Discs of Norgannon, and the birth of Tirisfal and humanity.
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