Next WoW Expansion Speculation: Tyrande and Elune
For our final article speculating on what is to come in the next WoW expansion, we're looking at the continuation of Tyrande's storyline as she seeks vengeance for the Night Elves and reasons why Elune abandoned her people.
Tyrande after the Fourth War
Tyrande after the Fourth War is upset with Anduin's truce and refuses to sign any peace treaty, unless it's written in the blood of Sylvanas. While we've covered many NPC dialogue snippets following the war, most of them do not address the plight of the Night Elves.
NPCs in Boralus
are skeptical about peace, while the Night Elf sentinels are both weary of war and hoping Tyrande tracks down Sylvanas. On the Horde side,
inhabitants of Orgrimmar
are focused on rebuilding trust among the Horde and welcoming Sylvanas loyalists back to the fold. The mood is one of reconciliation instead of taking action against Sylvanas and discussing future leadership.
However, Tyrande has spent the expansion waiting for assistance for the Night Elves. Anduin couldn't spare military troops back in Tides of Vengeance to help the Night Elves reclaim Darkshore, and ever since then, Tyrande has taken matters into her own hands, undergoing the dangerous Night Warrior ritual. While she was successful at launching an assault on Darkshore and killed one of Sylvanas' val'kyr, she watched Nathanos escape and two fallen Night Elves, Sira and Delaryn, resurrected into Undeath.
Players were first surprised that Tyrande was not present in the Rise of Azshara patch, as Tyrande played a critical role in the Kaldorei resistance in the War of the Ancients and is one of Azshara's oldest adversaries. Instead, we saw Shandris and Thalyssra work together to fight the Queen of the Naga. Tyrande was then missing from the Fourth War, which led Anduin to note "She... hasn't responded to my missives since departing for Darkshore. I fear vengeance has consumed her."
Now through Patch 8.3 datamining, we see Tyrande's reaction to Anduin and she's not happy at all:
Anduin: The armistice is signed. At long last, the Fourth War is over.
Tyrande: No. Not while the Black Moon still cries out for vengeance. Not until the Horde has answered for its treachery.
Anduin: Further bloodshed will not bring back the fallen. We must renew our hope and forge a future for those who survived.
Tyrande: And when the next warchief musters an army, will hope save you if it is Stormwind that burns?
Anduin: I know it's difficult to trust, but there are signs of change within the Horde. In place of a warchief, there is now a council led by Baine, Thrall, and the others. I believe they can--
Tyrande: Your faith is naive, lion son. I will sign no treaty unless it is written in the Banshee's blood!
Genn: There is truth in her words, Anduin. Peace may be on the table today, but soon enough the Horde will sound their drums and march for war.
Genn: When that day comes, no scrap of parchment will hold them back.
Anduin: The path to peace will not be easy, and not all will choose to walk it. But this is the only way to build a better future. I believe it will work, Genn.
Shandris: You spoke harshly to King Anduin, Tyrande. The kaldorei can ill afford to shun the Alliance. They have provided aid and comfort to us in these dark times.
Tyrande: The young king is foolish to trust our enemies. Harsh words should be the least of his fears.
Shandris: The Banshee Queen no longer leads the Horde. Those who do seem more inclined toward peace than war.
Tyrande: If the wolf is rabid, it matters not who rides it. Sooner or later, the beast will bare its fangs.
Shandris: You are dearest to my heart, Tyrande. I beg you, let go of the Black Moon's rage and embrace the mother's light once again. I could not bear to lose you to darkness.
Tyrande: Know this. My hunger for vengeance will not be sated so long as Sylvanas Windrunner remains free--and until I know why Elune abandoned her children.
Shandris: Tyrande! Do not say such--
Tyrande: I will tarry no longer in this city of men. Let us leave for the boughs of Nordrassil.
Tyrande: From there we will dispatch the Sentinels to every corner of Azeroth. Let no one rest until the Banshee is found!
Tyrande is clearly out for Sylvanas, and a clash between the two could lead to a showdown between the powers of Elune and Death, or the loss of even more of Sylvanas' val'kyr which could provoke her to drastic measures.
Tyrande and Azshara
We've learned through 8.3 raid testing that
Azshara has survived Ny'alotha
, so a showdown between Azshara and Tyrande is still not out of the question.
At BlizzCon 2017, Azshara was compared to Gul'dan, interpreted at the time as an equivalent mid-expansion boss. However, with Azshara alive, she may also parallel Gul'dan in serving a key role across multiple expansions. Gul'dan was first seen in Warlords of Draenor, building the Iron Horde before ultimately escaping through Archimonde's portal to our main timeline, opening the Tomb of Sargeras, summoning the Burning Legion, and stealing Illidan's body.
Azshara's continued survival sounds like a convenient opportunity to further develop Azshara's story and have it cross paths with Tyrande, as it felt like a missed opportunity not to have both of them clash in Nazjatar. Perhaps Azshara, meddling with the Zandalari leadership and Kul Tiras fleets in early Battle for Azeroth, was also responsible for Elune's weakened power in the War of the Thorns as well.
We still have the
of the Tidestone of Golganneth; Azshara managed to steal this from the Tomb of Sargeras, raising the implication that more Pillars of Creation could be stolen or tampered with. And one of these Pillars happens to be called the Tears of
, implying a direct connection with the goddess.
After we free Azshara in Ny'alotha, she doesn't seem particularly interested in sticking around to ensure the defeat of N'Zoth. Instead, she leaves to claim the "true throne of power." As Azshara has brokered a deal with Sylvanas, she may be interested in claiming Sylvanas' throne of death to deprive Sylvanas of more power, or she may be interested in seizing more of the Pillars of Creation and tapping into Elune, a deity whose existence may precede Light and Void, as we'll cover later in this article.
Elune Abandoning Night Elves
Tyrande is not just focused on defeating Sylvanas; she's also concerned with mysteries surrounding Elune. She tells Shandris "Know this. My hunger for vengeance will not be sated so long as Sylvanas Windrunner remains free--and until I know why Elune abandoned her children." which is a sentiment echoed by Delaryn as she lay dying in
and Lilian as she explains to Calia that those at Teldrassil felt abandoned and hopeless.
Where are you, Elune? How could you abandon your children to fire? We gave all we had. For what?
She was lucky. Arrows would claim her life. But the children whose cradle had been the boughs of the World Tree would die in agony and, worse, in utter innocence.
Turn your face from Azeroth in shame, Elune. Her thoughts were daggers. You have abandoned us. We tried so hard . . . We believed in your love, in your protection . . .
Her mouth was too dry, her body too weak, to even spit in contempt.
Exchange in Patch 8.3:
Lilian: Many fell at Teldrassil. Some were raised into rage and darkness, turned against their own people. They, too, have been abandoned.
Derek: Calia, I know the pain they suffer. The hopelessness. You must do something for them.
Tyrande during the Night Warrior ritual:
Tyrande Whisperwind says: Elune! Your people loved you! Yet you watched, distant and aloof, as they died in torment!
Tyrande Whisperwind says: I served you for millennia. But tonight, I do not come as a maiden, mother, or even priestess.
Tyrande Whisperwind says: Now, I will serve you only if you grant me justice!
Delaryn told Sylvanas that "You cannot kill hope," an action which prompted Sylvanas to burn down Teldrassil. Yet in spite of all of Sylvanas' plans, hope does survive, an idea which Saurfang uses to taunt Sylvanas in the gates outside Orgrimmar:
You tried, at Teldrassil, you failed. Hope remains. You sent us to kill each other, at Lordaeron, you failed. Hope remains. Here we stand, and you. Just. Keep. Failing. The Horde will endure. The Horde is strong.
While Saurfang and the Horde may still believe in hope, it's in stark contrast to the Night Elves who repeatedly voice feelings of abandonment. While the Night Elf story in Battle for Azeroth is quite dark and lacks any clear-cut victory or conclusion, there's a general sense that there's an additional level of spiritual hopelessness.
This then begs the question, why did Elune abandon the Night Elves? Is Elune caught up in a cosmic battle, tied to Sylvanas' plan to master death, or did Azshara meddle with Elune around the time she also caused havoc with the Kul Tiran fleet and Zandalari council at the start of Battle for Azeroth? Did the Night Warrior ritual further drain Elune of power?
Tyrande in End Time
As we analyze Tyrande's character as the Night Warrior, we want to draw attention to the
prophecies from Cataclysm, N'Zoth's past attempt to control Azeroth. Here Tyrande, Baine, Sylvanas, and Jaina are depicted as tragic AU versions which share some parallels to their Battle for Azeroth trajectories.
Once the leader of the night elves and High Priestess of Elune, this time-twisted fragment of Tyrande Whisperwind now wanders the wastes of the desolate future of Azeroth. Enveloped in a perpetual midnight, she has all but lost sight of the comforting light of Elune.
Image of Nozdormu says: There is an unnatural darkness to this place, a perpetual midnight. Take caution, heroes, and do not stray from the light.
Echo of Tyrande says: There is nothing left for you here, nothing but death and sorrow.
Echo of Tyrande says: The darkness surrounds you, the light of Elune is your only salvation.
Echo of Tyrande says: The moonlight can bring rest to your weary souls in this forgotten place.
Echo of Tyrande says: Give yourselves to the night, Elune will guide you from this mortal prison.
Echo of Tyrande says: You have chosen a path of darkness. Mother moon, guide my hand; allow me to bring rest to these misbegotten souls.
Echo of Tyrande says: Let the peaceful light of Elune soothe your souls in this dark time.
Echo of Tyrande yells: Eyes of night, pierce this darkness!
Echo of Tyrande yells: Spear of Elune, drive back the night!
Echo of Tyrande yells: Moon goddess, your light dims! I am lost without your guidance!
Echo of Tyrande yells: The darkness closes in...my vision is clouded...
Echo of Tyrande yells: Mother moon, I can no longer see your light! Your daughter is alone in the darkness!
Echo of Tyrande yells: Elune guide you through the night.
Echo of Tyrande says: I can...see the light of the moon...so clearly now. It is...beautiful...
Like the others before her, the Tyrande in End Time has also suffered great loss, while the Tyrande in Battle for Azeroth is currently reeling from the catastrophic loss of Teldrassil and invasion of Darkshore. It's implied that Tyrande had lost Malfurion in End Time, just as she nearly did in the War of Thorns.
In End Time, Tyrande feels abandoned by Elune and turns to darkness as her weapon, which mirrors her development in Tides of Vengeance, as Tyrande undergoes a ritual to channel the darkness of Elune, becoming the Night Warrior. We learn in the 8.1 quests that the Night Warrior ritual is extremely dangerous - perhaps this AU version of Tyrande attempted a similar ritual, but instead of being elevated a champion was left in ruin.
We've seen Blizzard play around with more Old God AUs in Patch 8.3 Visions of N'Zoth, depicting Alleria turning on her family in the
Horrific Vision of Stormwind
, Thrall drinking the Blood of N'Zoth in the
Horrific Vision of Orgrimmar
, and Wrathion turning corrupt as a
. In the context of these additional tragic AUs, we can see Tyrande in End Time as a cautionary tale of what could occur should the power of the Night Warrior be misused.
Elune - Mother and Night Warrior
Elune is a mysterious deity, but through recent dialogue options we've learned a bit more about this figure. Previously to Battle for Azeroth, Elune was mainly depicted as a maternal figure, Mother Moon, and one nurturing life, in details such as
. This changed in Tides of Vengeance, when Tyrande tapped into the dangerous ritual of the Night Warrior.
Shandris Feathermoon says: What ritual do you speak of, Maiev? Who is the Night Warrior?
Maiev Shadowsong says: She is the incarnation of Elune's wrath. Even witnessing the ritual to become her would put our lives at risk.
Shandris Feathermoon says: And the only life Tyrande wishes to risk is her own. Elune watch over her.
Sira Moonwarden says: Elune... was she watching over us as Teldrassil burned?
Shandris Feathermoon says: We must not lose faith in the goddess. That is just what the Horde wants.
Shandris Feathermoon says: Maiev. What makes this ritual so dangerous?
Maiev Shadowsong says: Legends say that long ago, Elune bestowed her fury upon our greatest warriors to secure Kalimdor.
Maiev Shadowsong says: In a sacred ritual, the strongest among them became her avatar--the Night Warrior. Our victory was swift.
Maiev Shadowsong says: None who have attempted the ritual since then have survived. Elune's raw power tears them apart.
Tyrande does survive the ritual and turns into the Night Warrior, hungering for vengeance. Her eyes turn black, possibly referenced in a new Il'gynoth whisper from Patch 8.3:
The blind queen wields a scepter of bone. From the deep she calls forth doom.
Focused on vengeance for Teldrassil, one could argue that she is blinded by her all-consuming hunger for vengeance. By investigating Elune, Tyrande may find herself "calling form doom"--especially if sinister forces have been entrapping Elune during the burning of Teldrassil. This relates back to a N'Zoth whisper from 8.1.5:
The fall of night reveals her true face. She will bring only ruin.
Azshara also mocks Tyrande, highlighting the illicit nature of the ritual:
Azshara: Would you entrust it to Tyrande? Perhaps she needs it to invoke yet another forbidden ritual.
And in the follow-up dialogue to the Fourth War, Night Elves are worried about the fury of Elune:
I fear for Tyrande. The Night Warrior is fierce, but... can a mortal control such power indefinitely?
She is the High Priestess of Elune. If anyone can wield the goddess's strength, it is her.
We also learn that the ritual of the Night Warrior is quite taxing on Elune in the Leatherworking questline:
We have everything we need to craft the drum, except Elune's blessing.
The drum is but a vessel, like a cup. We need her to imbue the drum with power, filling the cup so that we may drink.
With Tyrande donning the mantle of the Night Warrior, much of Elune's power is taxed. Asking for another favor is not insignificant, but I must try.
The blind queen could also refer to the Earthmother, linked to Elune, who was blinded in the tale
Sorrow of the Earthmother
The Earthmother, her heart heavy with her children's plight, could not bear to watch them fall from grace. In her grief, she tore out her eyes and set them spinning accross the endless, starry skies. An'she and Mu'sha, seeking to ease the other's sorrow, could only chase each other's faint glow across the sky. The twins still chase one another with every turning of the world.
Finally, Shandris recognizes the dual nature of Elune, urging Tyrande to seek the light side of Elune once more.
I beg you, let go of the Black Moon's rage and embrace the mother's light once again. I could not bear to lose you to darkness.
Recent expansions have set up a contrast between Light and Void, including Illidan resisting Xe'ra, both the Void Elves and Lightbound Draenei joining the Alliance, and the partnership of Alleria and Turalyon. Leading up to Battle for Azeroth, we saw first-hand how much the Void takes a toll on Alleria, with countless tormenting whispers in her head. But we've also gotten hints as to the destructive forces of the Light, most notably in the
Mag'har Orc storyline
which saw Y'rel and her zealots eradicate the Mag'har in the name of the Light.
Elune is now being set up in a similar fashion, with different aspects that have the potential to be powerful yet destructive.
Mystery of Elune
Elune and the religion of the Night Elves has been present since the start of WoW, but we don't know that much about the origins of this deity--Elune is even left off of the detailed cosmology chart from
. Returning to Elune in Patch 9.0 could answer some questions and further dive into the lore of the Night Elves.
One of the earliest signs of Elune's power came from the novel
Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects
, taking place in Cataclysm. Here, Elune appears to be responsible for Kalecgos becoming an Aspect of Magic:
His was now the ultimate mastery of arcane magic, given willingly, with love and hope and trust, by his flight, by the Mother and Child, by the echo of what the titans had willed, long ago.
In recent expansions, not just Battle for Azeroth, we've gotten some more hints about Elune.
In Legion, we retrieved
, one of the Pillars of Creation, which could hint at a possible connection to the Titans as all other pillars are named after members of the Pantheon--Aegis of Aggramar, Tidestone of Golganneth, Eye of Aman'thul, Hammer of Khaz'goroth. These pillars were given to the titanic keepers to aid them in the Ordering of Azeroth. We then learned more about the Tears of Elune in
I was going through some ancient cosmology tomes when I stumbled upon a passage indicating that the prime naaru may have been created by Elune during the great ordering of Light and Shadow.
If Elune did create Xe'ra, then it stands to reason that we could use the Tears of Elune to unlock the secrets of Light's Heart.
Khadgar's speculation links Elune to the Naaru, as well as the cosmic forces of Light and Shadow--which makes it even more suspicious Elune is left off of the cosmology chart. If Legion emphasized the power of Elune to create beings of Light, then Battle for Azeroth instead emphasized the darker aspects of Elune, paralleling the balance of Light and Shadow. And if Elune did create the prime Nauru, then Elune predates the existence of Light and Shadow--one of the earliest deities in the universe. Perhaps the battle for Azeroth has also indirectly led to an assault on Elune, which could explain the feelings of abandonment by the Night Elves.
The Well of Eternity
, we also learn that early Night Elves believed Elune dwelled inside the Well of Eternity during the day. The Well of Eternity was created when Aman'Thul ripped Y'Shaarj out of Azeroth, causing a horrific loss of life that made the titans reconsider their tactics in the war against the Black Empire. Instead of causing further harm to Azeroth by destroying the other Old Gods outright, they would create elaborate underground prisons for them. Once the Old Gods were imprisoned, the titan-forged turned their attention to repairing Azeroth, though it's repeatedly emphasized in
that the wound left behind from Y'Shaarj was incredibly dangerous.
The keepers' most pressing concern was the horrific scar left behind when Aman'Thul had torn Y'Shaarj from the world's crust. A constant stream of volatile arcane energy bled from the colossal rift, lashing out across the world. The keepers knew that, if left unattended, these energies would consume Azeroth over time.
The keepers labored day and night, crafting magic wards sealed around the gaping wound to stanch the escaping lifeblood. Eventually, the tumultuous energies calmed and settled into balance. All that remained of the scar was an immense lake of scintillating energy that the keepers would call the "Well of Eternity." Thereafter, the power of this wondrous fount would be infused in the ailing world, helping life to take root and bloom across the globe.
Eventually, magical experimentation grew so widespread that it was felt within the Twisting Nether, drawing the attention of Sargeras. Seeking to use the magic of the Well of Eternity to bring the Burning Legion to Azeroth, Sargeras first tricked Azshara's councillor Xavius, and eventually pulled the majority of the Highborne, Illidan Stormrage, and even Queen Azshara herself into his service. Xavius helped Azshara communicate directly with Sargeras, stating of the Queen's wishes of cleansing Azeroth of what she considered to be lesser races, and Sargeras tricked Azshara into using the Well of Eternity as a gateway for the First Invasion of the Burning Legion, an event which became known as the War of the Ancients. During this war, the Well of Eternity was destabilized, causing a titanic explosion which sundered Azeroth forever and destroyed most of Kalimdor and the Kaldorei empire.
The remnants of the Well of Eternity became into the Maelstrom, a churning mass of chaotic energy between Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms which most of the world's inhabitants avoided until Deathwing burst through it causing the Cataclysm.
This plot point resurfaced in Patch 8.2, when we journeyed to Nazjatar to battle Queen Azshara and accidentally free N'Zoth from his prison. At the time, we had several questions about the impact of Nazjatar's location, such as
how did N'Zoth's prison reach the Well of Eternity?
Patch 8.3 datamining also
revealed a map
showing N'Zoth immense size--and that a tendril of the Old God extended into Nazjatar. Should Elune be linked to Azeroth, N'Zoth drawing upon the remains of the Well of Eternity and his subsequent freedom could explain why Elune seemed weakened to the Night Elves.
Ultimately, we don't know that much about Elune, but we do have tantalizing threads hinting that Elune is linked to the Naaru, Azeroth, and the titans...she may even
a manifestation of one of these entities. With Tyrande on the hunt for questions about Elune, hopefully we'll find some of them answered in the next expansion.
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