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The old gods are patient and don’t often act directly. They whisper to mortals, slowly twisting their minds to do their bidding. In Azeroth’s past, the gods once thrived by stirring tension and sparking a war between the Elemental Lords. In doing so, the Elemental Lords weakened themselves, their kingdoms, and thinned their own ranks. The old gods waited until the elementals were completely vulnerable to strike. In the end, the old gods won their game, toppled the Elemental Lords and enslaved the elements.
Fast forward thousands of years to Azeroth’s more recent past. Teldrassil was originally not blessed by the aspects, leaving it vulnerable. After succumbing to corruption once, the World Tree was only blessed by aspects Ysera and Alextrasza. Those blessings were enough to start the tree’s healing process, but didn’t cleanse the corruption from deep within Teldrassil. In time, Teldrassil pushed this corruption to its surface, allowing it to be destroyed. What if something still lingered deep within the World Tree, biding its time?
Around the same time period, the Worgen relocated to Darnassus after losing their kingdom of Gilneas in a battle against the Forsaken. King Greymane’s son, Liam, did not survive the Worgen’s last stand. Wallowing in grief, disappointment, and anger would have made Greymane susceptible to the subtle whispers of a malignant source twisting his thoughts. Although these events happened years ago, the seeds of corruption are often planted well before they bloom.
The same could be true of Sylvanas Windrunner. After the death of the Lich King, Sylvanas traveled to Icecrown, needing to see him dead with her own eyes. Sylvanas had fought valiantly against the Lich King, only to be rewarded with being into a banshee after her defeat. Her soul was ripped from her body and twisted and tormented into doing the Lich King’s bidding.
Thinking death was the only way her soul would find peace, Sylvanas walked off the ledge of Icecrown Citadel, her body crashing onto the saronite rocks below. Saronite, a mining material in game, is the hardened blood of the old god Yogg-Saron. Sylvanas found none of the comforts of her first death. She was instead greeted with pain and agony, grasping, clawing hands, and watching eyes. In her darkest hour, nine of the Lich King’s val’kyr appeared to Sylvanas, inviting her into their sisterhood and offering Sylvanas her only escape from the horrific void she found herself trapped in. One val’kyr took Sylvanas’ place in order to bring Sylvanas back to ‘life, and as long as the val’kyr lived, so too would Sylvanas.
This is only speculation, but it would appear as if Sylvanas was granted a vision of the void. Her body lay broken on against the hardened blood of an old god. Sylvanas experienced fear and true horror for the first time. A soft whisper of her “fate” and desperation could begin slowly warping her thoughts. That alone would be enough to drive anyone mad, and it spurred her on a quest to find more Val’kyr to ensure her own existence as well as preserve the forsaken.
Many years later, Sylvanas and Genn clashed again in Stormheim. Sylvanas made a mysterious deal with Helya and was attempting to enslave Eyir, the leader of Odyn’s Val’kyr, using a lantern called the Soulcage. Unknown to Sylvanas, Genn lurked in the shadows. He lept down and landed a blow that sent Sylvanas flying across the room, yelling, “For Varian! For Gilneas! FOR MY SON!” Sylvanas ultimately put the old wolf down with an arrow, but didn’t realize Genn had taken the Soulcage during their scuffle. As he breaks the arrow in his shoulder, Genn crushes the lantern and states, “You took my son’s future, and now I’ve taken yours.”
Both leaders have very good reason to hate each other, although much of their anger and blame is misplaced. Genn blames Sylvanas for abandoning the Alliance on the Broken Shore and for Varian’s death. The Horde had been overrun and Warchief Vol’jin had ordered the retreat. Even still, Genn’s quest for revenge has become destroying Sylvanas. Sylvanas thinks she’s seen what awaits her in death. She’s willing to go to great, and often reckless, lengths in order to save herself. Her intent was always for survival, but her quest has become one for immortality.
Conflict and emotion have caused the old gods to stir in the past. The conflict has been known to heighten their awareness and fuel their awakening. They begin reaching, corrupting, manipulating their enemies into fighting against each other. Whispering to weaken their foes. Are we fighting each other when we should be fighting together, for Azeroth? Are we setting ourselves up to fall like the Elemental Lords once did? Join our conversation on Facebook and let us know if you’ll be fighting for the Alliance, Horde, or Azeroth in Battle For Azeroth.