(Some of) the other realms we’d like to see in the Shadowlands
There are many doors in Oribos.
One thing we’ve known since we started in Shadowlands is that the places we’re going are just the few that directly related to our mission to stop the Jailer. We went to Bastion because we saw Mawsworn Kyrian in the Maw. We went to Maldraxxus because the forces of that realm invaded Bastion while we were there. We went to Ardenweald because the Primus’ message needed to be delivered to the Winter Queen, and we went to Revendreth because the Winter Queen told us that Sire Denathrius understood Anima better than anyone else. But even as we journey through the Shadowlands in this way, we know there are places we haven’t seen — the mysterious Brokers come from somewhere else entirely, the Devourers raid various realms from their possible position in the In-Between, and the invasion of the Drust from Thros, the Blighted Land means we know at least one other place connected to these afterlives.
Plus, those aforementioned doors in Oribos. Even as we travel through portals to the realms we have access to, we are aware that there are other spaces open for doors to drop, spaces not currently in use. Oribos is clearly designed as a transport hub of some kind, one that is currently operating at half capacity at best. So where else could we go? What other realms in the Shadowlands are accessible?
Well, we don’t know. But here are a few speculative musings about places we might go.
The Naaru and their secrets
We know that at least one Draenei spirit was brought from the Shadowlands by the Knights of the Ebon Blade, namely, that of Soulbinder Nyami. Since the Death Knights were able to harvest her, and since we know the Shadowlands touch all worlds, this implies that the spirits of countless Eredar before the coming of the Legion, and countless Draenei after it, went to various realms within the Shadowlands. But we don’t see many of them, and the very existence of Auchindoun in both Outland and the alternate Draenor we visit show us that the Draenei funerary rites involved literally binding souls. Where were they being bound to? Is there a realm the Draenei travel to after death, a specific place possibly linked to the Light and the Naaru in some way? The Naaru invaded Revendreth, implying that they know of and spend enough time in the Shadowlands to make such an invasion, and back in Wrath of the Lich King we see the Naaru take a dying man bodily into some kind of afterlife.
We know little of what this paradise would be, how it relates to the other Shadowlands, and if it exists we don’t know if the beings there are sent by the Arbiter or prevented from coming to that being’s scrutiny by the power of the Naaru and their Soulbinder acolytes. But it’s clear that the Draenei have lore about the nature of the soul and its afterlife they haven’t fully shared with the rest of us.
Technically, we’ve seen Thros already. Alliance players in Battle for Azeroth even went into Thros looking for Jaina Proudmoore after she was taken there by the Drust during their invasion of Kul Tiras, traveling with her mother Katherine Proudmoore to free the future Lord Admiral from her torment. Thros, the Blighted Lands is a realm suffused with death and the staging ground for the Drust invasion of Ardenweald, as the former Druids seek to use the Winter Queen’s realm to reincarnate themselves and escape the curse they called down on themselves when they severed their connection to the cycle of life and death.
At the end of the Night Fae Campaign, we thwart an invasion force of Drust, but they succeeded in seizing temporary control of the Grove of Awakening. Some Drust were seen transporting through what appeared to be a portal similar to the ones players see when using the Queen’s Conservatory to return spirts to the world of the living, and it would definitely appear that the Drust have only been stalled, not stopped. So it would make sense that players might well take the battle to Thros itself, and face its nightmarish visions as Jaina once did.
Helheim and the Halls of Valor
Much like Thros, Helheim doesn’t necessarily count as part of the Shadowlands, but considering Helya’s role as one of the Jailer’s allies and servants, and the nature of Helheim as her creation — a pocket dimension bordering on the Shadowlands, where the spirits of dishonorable Vrykul are dragged by Val’kyr serving her — it’s entirely possible that we’ll see more of the realm in Shadowlands as we oppose her.
Helya’s role and that of Odyn in the Jailer’s plans was hinted at by Mueh’zala in his appearance in De Other Side, and it’s clear that the Jailer clearly went to a lot of trouble to add Helya to his ranks. Considering that both the Val’kyr that serve Helya and the ones that serve Odyn are essentially reverse engineered Kyrian, who serve to pilfer souls before the Kyrian can find and bring them before the Arbiter, there could well be conflict between the Kyrian and both factions, which could lead to an invasion of both pocket dimensions in an attempt to bring them fully under the control of the Arbiter and the other Eternal Ones once the Jailer is dealt with.
I mean, it’s pretty clear that both Odyn and Helya have been essentially stealing souls, and thus Anima, from the Shadowlands. Sooner or later either the Kyrian or the Necrolords of Maldraxxus are likely to take steps, leading to a possible war amidst the dead. We might have to deal with that before moving on to confront the Jailer once and for all.
And many more
There are limitless potential Shadowlands we have no real knowledge of, and worlds that may have a connection to the Shadowlands we haven’t yet explored. The potential connection between the Nathrezim and Sire Denathrius, for example, means that the Nathrezim and their shadowy home realm — potentially destroyed by Illidan before the Legion invasion of Azeroth — might make an appearance. Castle Nathria, the Nathrezim, it seems at least feasible that there’s a connection there, doesn’t it?
And there’s still the home realm of the Brokers, wherever that actually is, and their mysterious connection to the Devourers who may or may not come from the In-Between. We’re told that before the Anima drought, rivers of the stuff flowed through the In-Between, but now the Devourers are forced to invade other realms for it. But we haven’t seen anyplace in the In-Between for them to be coming from yet, just a swirly portal we rocket through on Anima Worms. Is there any there in the In-Between? Anyplace we could actually go?
As of right now, we only know of four realms in the Shadowlands. But there are a lot of doors in Oribos.
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