Know Your Lore, TFH edition: The genesis of Titans
Last week Blizzard released the three part Alleria and Turalyon audio drama, A Thousand Years of War. One line in it grabbed my attention. When Alleria made mental contact with Argus’ world-soul, it revealed to her its origin. In that revelation we learned that before it slumbered within Argus, the light that made up the world-soul drifted in the void. It came close to a star for warmth, and the planet formed around it for protection. Up until now we knew that some worlds had world-souls and some didn’t. Now we’ve learned that world-souls predate the worlds they form within.
The audio drama makes a point of equating Argus and Azeroth. It points out that the two worlds are similar. Therefore, we can assume that Azeroth’s world-soul also existed before Azeroth the planet did. And this implies that every Titan came about in this way. A formless entity of light so powerful that it formed a world around itself for protection as it grew. This led me to several questions.
Please note: This post contains spoilers for patch 7.3 and the Antorus raid.
Where do Titans come from? They’re astonishingly powerful entities of cosmic power drifting in the void, drawn to stars for warmth. It reminded me of the description of how the Void Lords decided to corrupt a world-soul. They want to create a Void Titan that can help them destroy the cosmos. This is why they created the Old Gods, flinging them into the universe to drift until they found and infested worlds with world-souls. The exact phrase the audio drama uses for Argus before it formed the world around it was “It was energy, spinning out into the cosmos.” From where did it spin? How did it arrive? We don’t know.
Looking at the Warcraft cosmology chart from Chronicle Vol. 1, one candidate is the Order section. The Titans are right there on that portion of the map. The Arcane power that we see there matches what we know about the fundamental nature of world-souls. After all, the Well of Eternity was a font of Arcane power. It was also the lifeblood of a Titan. This makes me wonder how pieces of pure Arcane energy come to drift in our universe. Could there be some entity in the Order realm that does this? Are world-souls being flung into our cosmos as part of some plan to order it? By who?
Well, we don’t know much of anything about the Order plane. We know that demons come from the Twisting Nether and are born of Fel. Mortal beings can actually become demons if they’re exposed to enough of it. But we know nothing of any Arcane realm or any entities native to it. Are there Arcane beings similar to demons? Are the Titans akin to, or even examples of, such beings? Is there some Arcane version of the Void Lords?
The enigma of Elune
Since the discovery of the Pillars of Creation, I’ve been haunted by the fact that one of them is not like the others. We have the Aegis of Aggramar, the Hammer of Khaz’goroth, the Tidestone of Golganneth, the Eye of Aman’thul and the Tear of Elune.
There are six Titans in the Pantheon. Clearly, Norgannon didn’t get a Pillar of Creation named after him — he got the Discs of Norgannon. But what about Eonar? Why did Elune get a Pillar, not Eonar? Supposedly the Titans gave the Pillars to the Titan Keepers to shape the world after the fall of the Black Empire. They were working to soothe the world-soul and heal the wound that created the Well of Eternity.
The original Well of Eternity was a gaping wound. It allowed the world-soul’s Arcane essence to leak forth — the Titan’s very life blood. The whole purpose of creating the Pillars of Creation was aimed at restoring the proper process of incubation for the world-soul. The planet was formed to protect the soul as it matured, like a self-grown egg. And this leads us to conclude that it is at least feasible that Elune is a Titan.
Thanks to the coming Antorus raid, we know that Eonar is the only Titan to have escaped Sargeras’ grasp since he destroyed the other Titans and captured their escaped souls. Chronicle tells us that when Sargeras unleashed a Fel storm upon the Titans, Norgannon launched their souls into the Great Dark. They eventually arrived on Azeroth and entered the Keepers. We know that one of the Keepers, Highkeeper Ra, removed Aman’thul’s essence from himself. He placed it in the waters of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Apparently, Sargeras’ agents eventually managed to recapture those souls. Save one. Save Eonar.
World-souls, Titans, and Gods
How and when did Sargeras recapture the Titans’ souls? Did he do so during the War of the Ancients? Or was it the purpose of his Avatar’s attack on Northrend during Aegwynn’s career? The Titans souls were on Azeroth at one point. All of them save Eonar were recaptured. This means Eonar has potentially been on Azeroth this entire time. Where? How?
One answer is the old Night Elf legend that Elune lives in the Well of Eternity. In order to avoid recapture, could Eonar have left Freya and perhaps inhabited the Well? Did she use the life essence of Azeroth to sustain herself in her weakened condition? What does ‘death’ even mean to a Titan? The bodies of the Pantheon were slain by Sargeras and his Fel storm, but clearly the Titans continued to exist. Left to their own devices do they regenerate new bodies? Are Avatars just the first step in regrowing such a form?
Let’s assume for a moment that Eonar is Elune. It would fit with a lot of what we see in the Tomb of Sargeras raid. The former Temple of Elune is clearly a Titan structure. It has a chamber where all the Pillars of Creation could be used together. It makes sense that Eonar would inhabit such a structure. Perhaps she was regenerating a physical form, and shaped the culture and appearance of those that came to the Well. It would be easier for her to be near the seething arcane power of the Well. In a way, she would be with a sibling.
But this still doesn’t answer one question. Why did the Tear of Elune allow us to communicate with Xe’ra?
Mysteries of the Light and Shadow
At one point, after we fail to save O’ros from Rakeesh, Khadgar tells us he read in a book that Elune created the Naaru. That’s pretty amazing because we never even heard of the Naaru before The Burning Crusade. I really wish someone would just go to Karazhan and catalog the library already. There’s probably six expansions full of stuff we don’t know yet there. But if Elune is Eonar, and Eonar made the Naaru, and the Naaru are considered beings of Light despite their Shadow phase then…what?
We know that Antorus is a Titan structure. It existed on Argus long before Sargeras arrived to corrupt the Eredar. The Naaru also had a presence there. The Ata’mal Crystal that Velen used to commune with K’ure was ancient by his time, and that was 25,000 years ago. And we know the Titans were concerned with the Void and the Void Lords. Despite being infused with the Light, the Naaru often fall into a shadow phase and become void beings like Entropius.
So imagine this — what if the Naaru are Titan creations made to help order the cosmos by regulating Light and Void? What if the reason the Tear of Elune worked to restore Xe’ra’s consciousness core is because that’s what it was made to do? It was designed to create Naaru, and use them as part of the Ordering of the Cosmos. We’re even told that the Naaru were created during the Great Ordering of Light and Shadow.
The Titans can command Light. We’ve seen Norushen do so to battle the Sha of Pride and cleanse us of its corruption. So it doesn’t seem beyond the Titans to have created the Naaru.
The Unknown Unknowns
But what was Antorus? Why did the Titans create it? How is Argus similar to Azeroth besides simply having a Titan sleeping within it? Was Antorus the same as the Temple of Elune on Azeroth or other Titan structures? Is Eonar Elune? If so, what was she doing manipulating Nigh Elf society? Was she trying to grow a new body, shepherd Azeroth into awakening or did she have some other goal? Are the Naaru her creations? Do Titans come from some unknowable plane of order and Arcane, hurled into our universe by entities just as unknowable as the Void Lords, in order to impose logic on a chaotic cosmos?
We have a lot of questions and no answers yet. Hopefully we’ll get to learn a lot more after Antorus.
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