The story of Ursoc and Ursol, Azeroth’s twin bear Ancients
They were brothers: Ursoc and Ursol, the bear gods, patrons of the Furbolg.
Most of the Ancients, those entities also known as Wild Gods, were singular entities. There is only one Goldrinn, only one Malorne. But there were two bear Ancients. Two brothers, born together, from the time they were essentially cubs in the embrace of the world, knowing always each other.
Unlike many of the Wild Gods, Ursoc and Ursol were born as mortal cubs. The two bear cubs wandered what is today the Grizzly Hills, exploring the world, confronting violent predators far larger than themselves without fear. They were secure in the knowledge that they would never leave one another, never abandon each other. Whatever threats came their way, Ursol and his brother Ursoc protected and defended each other and faced the world together.
Their unique bravery attracted the attention of Keeper Freya. The Titan Keeper realized that these two bears were more than they appeared, and her opinion was borne out in time as the bear twins continued to grow and mature.
Over thousands of years, Ursoc and Ursol’s power grew, and their curiosity never faded. They defended the world of their birth until they became more than bears, but exemplars — personifications of the wild in all its splendor, defenders and protectors of the world that birthed them. Freya’s realization became truth as the two ceased to be mere bears.
How this happened is unknown, but as is the case for many of the Ancient Guardians, Ursoc and Ursol were said to be among the first to live on Azeroth — perhaps this is more than a metaphor. Regardless, by the coming of the Burning Legion, both Ursoc and Ursol were considered gods by the Furbolg and powerful allies and spirits of nature by the Night Elves.
Warning: Spoilers for Shadowlands to follow.
The coming of the Burning Legion
The War of the Ancients is called this because the Ancient Guardians deigned to fight it.
And none of the Ancients fought harder than Ursoc and Ursol. The twins, born cubs together when Azeroth was young, had grown together and it was together that they faced the Legion. It must be said that they were the first to answer Cenarius when he called for them, that they fought shoulder to shoulder against unspeakable odds.
They were seen by Malorne, when that being was forced to relive his death over and over again, because it was always in the thickest of the fight that you’d find the bear twins. And it was there, fighting the Legion, that the great bear twins gave their very lives in defense of Azeroth — swallowed up by an oncoming tide of demons, both of the bear twins refused to abandon their world or each other and laid down their lives side by side.
After their deaths, the Furbolg continued to venerate the twin bears, going so far as to find the Claws of Ursoc, powerful artifacts once used by the bear Ancient — but they could not control the power of these weapons, and so, Ursoc’s spirit withdrew the power from them until a worthy mortal should arise. This occurred during the Legion’s recent invasion of the Broken Isles.
But the Furbolg were not willing to wait for the usual cycle of death and rebirth — instead, upon discovering the remains of Vordrassil, a failed World Tree originally planted by Fandral Staghelm, they used the tree’s power to raise Ursoc from death. Perhaps Ursol was simply too wise to return in this way, or simply less venerated by the Furbolg, but the end result of the resurrection was the corruption of the Emerald Nightmare corrupting Ursoc, forcing his cubs Kodian and Orsonn to aid mortal adventurers in striking down this tainted recreation of their father.
Ursoc’s final sacrifice
Trapped in the Emerald Nightmare, Ursoc was forced to endure the tortures of the servants of Xavius, who sought the Claws of Ursoc for their own. But Ursol had not abandoned his brother, and he aided the Archdruid of the Cenarion Circle, who fought their way into the Nightmare with Ursol’s blessing to find Ursoc and the Claws. While the Archdruid succeeded in reaching Ursoc and gaining the Claws, Ursoc ultimately fell to the corruption of the Old Gods when Xavius unleashed that power against him, once again trapping Ursoc in their malign influence.
It fell to the Archdruid and their allies, including Malfurion Stormrage, to oppose Ursoc and defeat the bear ancient in combat. This was seen as freeing Ursoc from the corruption of the Old Gods, since it was known that Ursoc would return in time, after a season of rest in the great forest that lies beyond life and death.
But that was not to be. This time, Ardenweald would be no safe haven for the bear Ancient. The actions of the Jailer and Sylvanas Windrunner have caused an Anima drought that threatens to consume the Great Forest, and as a result, the Winter Queen has begun draining Anima from the spirits that were resting and healing before their return. Ursoc was one of these spirits, and it now seems likely that his soul has died, drained of its Anima.
They were brothers. Twins. They were born together, faced all the dangers and wonders of the world together. And now only Ursol remains, for Ursoc has sacrificed the last of his life in defense of the world.
Mourn, then, for the world, that has lost such a protector, mourn for his cubs who will see him no longer. And mourn his brother, Ursol, who must now face the world alone, who will never know again the presence of his shadow, his other self, his twin.
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