The mystery of the Night Warrior and Elune’s role in Shadowlands
I’m obsessed with the Night Warrior, and I have ever since Tyrande became that particular manifestation of Elune’s wrath in Battle for Azeroth, because it highlights how much we don’t know about Elune. Elune does not appear to be a Titan, but the Tear of Elune was one of the Pillars of Creation in Legion, and we traveled to a world named Elunaria to save Eonar during the Antorus raid. So what is Elune?
This post contains spoilers for the Shadowlands expansion.
Nothing we’ve seen in the Shadowlands beta that Wowhead has helpfully cataloged tells us, but we do find out tidbits that only add to the mystery surrounding Elune. What is she? What does she want? What is her connection to Ardenweald itself?
The tale of Thiernax the first Night Warrior and his husband Kadarin is a story of sacrifice and death, as Thiernax took on the power of the Night Warrior in order to save his world — that world doesn’t seem to be Azeroth, though there are some clear similarities — only to be destroyed by said power. Kadarin attempted to save Therinax by siphoning off some of the power of the Night Warrior since it was tearing Thiernax apart, and while he did manage to do so there was still too much for even two souls to share, and both were destroyed.
Ardenweald, Elune, and the First Ones
This led to them ending up in Ardenweald, where it seems all Night Warriors since have been sent. Not only does this imply a deeper connection between Elune and the Ardenweald than we have previously understood, it makes me wonder. When we first arrive in the Maw and find the gateway out of it, the Jailer states that the device was created by “the First Ones.” He is surprised that the gateway activates for the player. We know that the Jailer, the Arbiter, the Winter Queen, and other rulers of the various Shadowlands are members of a Pantheon of Death in much the way that the Titans served as a Pantheon of Order. We also know Elune was somehow involved in the Titan’s goal of re-ordering Azeroth via the Temple of Elune, and the Tears of Elune were used as a Pillar of Creation. So now I find myself wondering — what does the term ‘First Ones’ mean?
Who are the First Ones, and how do they relate to creation and the existence of both the mortal realm and the Shadowlands that are so much a reflection of them? Ardenweald in particular is a plane where the spirits of the Natural World are intended to enter the great cycle and be returned to existence — so why do the spirits of the Night Warrior end up there? Thiernax and Kadarin provide a teasing glimpse into the possibilities that Elunaria had cracked open — Elune might exist on other worlds, might be worshipped and venerated by peoples throughout the cosmos. Other worlds might have beings like the Wild Gods, that return time and again to defend their Natural Order just as the Ancients do on Azeroth, and that when in danger of destruction these worlds might call upon the Night Warrior as well.
Elune might well be one of the First Ones, a being who transcends Pantheons and their roles in creation, a Being Above All. It could well be the reason that the Tear of Elune was able to re-awaken Xe’ra’s core, for the power of the First Ones could well be what created the Naaru themselves in the distant dawn of all creation. It would explain why the power of the Night Warrior tears apart the mortals who wield it — it’s the direct divine wrath of a being who outranks Titans and Lords of Death, the rage of the makers of all things. It would explain why the Titans built a Temple to Elune — perhaps they worship her. Perhaps it was the Titans themselves that brought Elune’s worship to Azeroth.
We don’t know, of course — while the tale of Thiernax and Kadarin is very interesting, at present we can’t be sure that their fate ultimately spells doom for Tyrande, and it still doesn’t help untangle what Elune’s role and connection to the Shadowlands and Ardenweald actually is. We have more pieces, but not enough to actually put the puzzle together. Another piece of the puzzle? We saw Elune take Ysera up into the heavens when she died in Legion, and now we find that Ysera is one of the last souls to successfully arrive in Ardenweald upon her death. Is that because Elune personally transported her there — and if so, how? Why? What is Elune to the spirits of the Ardenweald?
Hopefully the Night Fae covenant story can provide some answers to all this as it continues to unfold, but for now, all we have are more questions.
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