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Lore > WoWSep 15, 2017 6:00 pm CT

Know Your Lore: The future belongs to Azshara

Right about now, we can be forgiven for focusing on the Burning Legion and the threat they pose to Azeroth and the universe. Even if Sargeras was defeated utterly, the vast army of demons at his disposal will likely remain a threat. Although Archimonde and Kil’jaeden are seemingly disposed of, this vast worlds-destroying force is a monumental adversary.

And of course, even if the Legion were neutralized, there are still threats such as the Void Lords and the Old Gods. Even if they were somehow dealt with there are plenty of other menaces to be faced. Other rogue demons, the Scourge and the Lich King, and many worlds we know nothing about.

But for my money, one of the biggest threats to Azeroth is Queen Azshara. She’s dealt with both the Legion and the Old Gods and retains her own will, her own purposes. Even now with Azeroth on the verge of destruction she has her eyes fixed on the main chance. Azshara cares for one being, and one being only. Herself.

The tide keeps rising

We’ve discussed Azshara’s history and role in past events before. To sum it up briefly, she was the last Queen of the Kaldorei Empire. She ordered Xavius to investigate the Well of Eternity more closely. In the process this led to Sargeras’ and the Legion’s attempt to take the world during the War of the Ancients.

Azshara survived that conflict with the help of the Old Gods. They transformed her and other members of her Highborne serving her in the city of Zin-Ashari into the first Naga. Azshara in particular was gifted by the Old Gods…but even before they chose her, Azshara was fearsome. Her power as a mage was vast. It is through the power of Azshara that many places in Azeroth were shaped and channeled. And even Mannoroth knew better than to trifle with Azshara.

Azshara has been extraordinarily patient over the past ten thousand years since the War of the Ancients. Considering that she once ruled most of the continent of Kalimdor and she is unquestionably the most powerful mortal spellcaster alive, she’s rarely intruded on the surface. When she has, its often been in support of someone else. She sent Lady Vashj to serve Illidan Stormrage. In Cataclysm, she attacked Malfurion in Darkshore. This was in order to divert his attention away from Mount Hyjal at the behest of the Old God worshippers in the Twilight’s Hammer.

The Queen of the Ocean

Azshara never seems to take these actions without benefit to herself. During the Cataclysm, her Naga aided the Old Gods. But it’s clear that her attack on Neptulon was aimed at increasing her influence over the oceans. This isn’t a surprise. Heretic Naga have turned to the worship of Neptulon over the years. They’ve always been in conflict with Azshara and her cult of personality.

Azshara always has an eye to her own weal. She possesses a constantly calculating mind that determines how a situation could benefit her. Her actions during the current Legion invasion bear this out. Seeking to reclaim the Tidestone of Golganneth, Azshara sent Naga forces after in in the ruins of the Nar’thalas Academy. After that, she even seemed to know that the heroes of Azeroth would bring the Tidestone to the Tomb of Sargeras.

It’s fascinating that at no time did the Legion seem to attempt to restore the alliance with Azshara and her Naga. Nor did she reach out to them. All of her moves during this Legion invasion have been self-centered. Likewise, she’s made absolutely no attempt to assist Xavius in his schemes. Xavius was her former servant, first of the Satyr much as she was first of the Naga. Xavius, as the Nightmare Lord, directly served the Emerald Nightmare and through it N’Zoth. But if Azshara felt any loyalty to the beings that made her what she is today, you couldn’t tell by her actions.

Let the waves wear down the stones

So what is Azshara’s goal? If she’s not working with the Legion, she seems utterly unconcerned about stopping them. She would have stolen the very Tidestone we used to help seal the portal the Legion was using to invade the Broken Shore, after all. What’s her game?

Without actually being Azshara, I suspect her plan is simply to wait and let others wear themselves out. She’s seen the Legion before. She knows full well that for all their power, they have a tendency to lose when they attack Azeroth. Letting them battle ‘heroes’ means that whoever wins will be all the weaker when it’s all said and done.

As for the Old Gods, I admire the way Azshara has managed to keep on their good side throughout history without expending much of her personal power in the process. Azshara’s actions in support of Deathwing during the Cataclysm were anemic at best. Azshara has engaged in a lot of activities that on the surface might please the Old Gods. She distracted Malfurion, she sent her naga to search for Pandaria. Yet she expends very little on these activities. They cost her nothing.

Furthermore, look at the results of her actions. Her actions to ‘help’ the Twilight’s Hammer and Deathwing saw the great Dragon Aspect destroyed. The aid she gave to Illidan saw him imprisoned for a decade. Both Vashj and Kael were defeated as well. Her actions sending agents to Pandaria ultimately saw Pandaria revealed to the world. That led to the Heart of Y’Shaarj’s destruction, and Garrosh Hellscream’s fall. Azshara’s Naga were less than thrilled with the Kvaldir… and now the Kvaldir’s leader Helya is no more. Everywhere they go, the ‘heroes’ of Azeroth removed powerful rivals from the board that could make Azshara’s life difficult.

Azshara’s wrath

This has been part and parcel of Azshara’s interactions with Azeroth from the return of the Naga during Illidan’s push to try and strike down the Lich King — none of it has cost her anything. Vashj was a tool, and a somewhat defiant one at that. Sending her to Illidan meant less problems for Azshara, and if he struck down the Lich King, so much the better for Azshara. An army of Undead isn’t useful to her, after all.

Even her appearance in Azsuna was a trifle to her. Prince Farondis’ attack did literally nothing to her. She clearly felt it so unimportant that she didn’t even bother to return it. Azshara is happy to let everyone else expend themselves in battle while she watches and waits and feints.

And that’s the most alarming fact to me. Because when Azshara finally does decide to take action, it will be with a force she deems suitable to overwhelm the world. We must be prepared to meet that force, and even exceed it. But considering we will have just faced the Burning Legion on its home ground — and maybe the Old Gods to follow — is that even possible?

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