Story of the Burning of Teldrassil (Elegy and A Good War) with Nobbel87
With the conclusion of the War of Thorns live and the novellas from the
Battle for Azeroth Collector's Edition
revealed, Nobbel has summarized the complete story of the Burning of Teldrassil, including the short stories from the Collector's Edition.
As both Nobbel and myself have been sent copies of
A Good War
, we've highlighted the important parts of these novellas after describing the in-game plot and quests. Here we've done something a bit different--Nobbel first summarizes a point he finds interesting, and then I reply with my own analysis. These novellas, companion works from the point of view of the Alliance and Horde, add a sizable amount of depth to the storyline, as well as a few hints where the story could go later on, but some questions still remain.
Note: these novellas, minus the artwork, should be available for
online at Blizzard's website in the near-future.
Patch 7.3.5 Epilogue
Hello everyone! At the end of Legion we were able to defeat Argus and with the help of the Pantheon imprison the Dark Titan Sargeras. In his final moments, the lord of the Legion penetrated the world with his sword, not delivering a death blow but doing some serious damage to the planet. Azeroth is wounded and her speaker, Magni Bronzebeard, goes around warning the world that we need to focus our efforts on healing her or we might have to start looking for a new planet to live on.
Wounded, she’s bleeding a material called Azerite which is a completely new discovery for most except for Jastor Gallywix, as the goblins found it all the way back on their island of Kezan. Digging so deep might have actually caused the destruction of their island, but all the same, he presents the new material to his Warchief and upon touching it she says.
“This will change everything.”
This new substance is the most powerful thing they’ve ever held. It gives you incredibly smart thoughts, strategies will race through your mind and the dark lady saw herself no longer as a dark lady or even a queen. She was a goddess of destruction and creation, and she was stunned that she had never understood how deeply the two were intertwined. Armies, cities, entire cultures – she could raise them. And fell them. Stormwind would be among the first, yielding its people to swell the numbers of her own. She could deal death on a scale that – Yeah her dream of staying alive forever, of never going back to the hell that she witnessed has her quickly weaponize Azerite while Gallywix has his people mining the stuff.
“Nothing ever good came out of Silithus.”
The Alliance finds out about their operations and while touching it gives Anduin a similar feeling of power and strategy, his mind races to how many it could heal? How many could it strengthen, soothe, invigorate, inspire? Yet...how many could it kill and the thought was a gut punch. There are those amongst the Alliance that want to use azerite in an offensive matter like Rogers and Greymane, but Anduin is pretty clear about his intentions and the rest follow his lead. This information is from the novel
Before the Storm
and I’ll link the video I’ve done at the end if you want more details. The tale ends with a meeting between Forsaken and Humans that does not end well, yet no war was started between the Alliance or the Horde.
Learn more on Wowhead:
The meeting with Gallywix and Sylvanas was dramatized in the 7.3.5 ending cinematic for the Horde:
Gallywix received an
updated model in-game
in Patch 7.3.5 to reflect the azerite on his cane.
is the starting zone for the Goblin race. Here you can find their bustling shady Bilgewater Port and engage in shady goblin business practices...until the volcano Mount Kajaro erupted. You can then continue questing in
as the Goblins rebuild and ultimately decide to join the Horde.
You can purchase
, which gives you ideas, from the Cataclysm Timewalking vendor. Check out
for some of the ideas your character has! Kaja’mite also plays a large role
as your player character starts out owning a Kaja'mite mine with Troll slaves.
was originally the capital city of Kezan, which was abandoned when Mount Kajaro erupted. We will be going back to this zone as a dungeon Battle for Azeroth with the bosses
Coin-Operated Crowd Pummeler
. The goblins here are focused on mining Azerite and becoming Azerite barons.
The Alliance clash with Gallywix in Battle for Azeroth in
Part 4 of the War Campaign
You can see Anduin's initial reaction to Azerite in the 7.3.5 ending cinematic for the Alliance:
In Battle for Azeroth, Magni approaches members of both factions with the Heart of Azeroth. With this equipped, you'll absorb Azerite, hopefully healing the world. From a gameplay perspective, you'll gain special
on your shoulder, helm, and chest armor. This provides some gameplay customization as there are many utility traits, some that only work in Uldir and PvP, and a variety of class and spec-specific perks. You can find a full list
and the Wowhead team has
updated the site
for Azerite filters, tabs on related pages, and a fancy calculator UI on all item pages.
Sylvanas’ Attack on Darkshore
That war begins with this campaign where Horde troops are summoned by their Warchief to the Undercity as SI:7 operatives are crawling through Orgrimmar.
“Though our long war against the Legion has ended, the Horde cannot afford a moment of respite. Meet me in my chambers in the Undercity, where we can discuss our next move...discretely. “
Instead of focusing our efforts on Silithus, the Banshee Queen lets us know that that is exactly what she wanted to alliance to believe. Instead, we’re going to focus on Teldrassil, home of the night elves. Azerite has changed the balance of power across all of Azeroth. Though we do not yet fully understand its potential, it is clear that this substance has vast destructive capabilities. She wonders what will war look like in twenty years? In a hundred? How can the Horde hope to defend its borders if the Alliance controls the flow of Azerite?
It’s uncertain, but what IS certain is that the Alliance will use Darnassus as a safe harbor for funneling Azerite into the Eastern Kingdoms. Anduin Wrynn will build powerful new weapons, and sooner or later he will turn them upon our homelands. First, he will strike at the Undercity and Silvermoon, then his gaze will fall upon Kalimdor. For the sake of the Horde’s future, we must be the first to act. By occupying Darnassus, we will control the flow of Azerite and ensure it cannot be used against us. The Alliance will dare not attack its own city for fear of harming civilians. With a single stroke, we will guarantee generations of peace. The best defense is a good offense and we all know how much of a warmongerer Anduin Wrynn is. Attacking them before they attack us is the only way to secure a safe future with someone like him as High King.
High Overlord Varok Saurfang is leading an army towards Silithus. By now he’s reached the northern barrens where we meet up with him and let him know that the preparations are complete, it’s time to capture a world tree.
Early Horde Quests:
: Report to Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner in the Undercity.
: Find Saurfang in the Northern Barrens.
: Find Lorash in Astranaar.
: Work with Lorash to disarm Astranaar.
: Greet Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner in Astranaar.
Meanwhile, on the Alliance side, King Anduin Wrynn summons his troops with a heavy heart.
“Though the Legion has fallen, a new threat rises. Disturbing messages are arriving from our operatives in Orgrimmar. Join me at Stormwind Keep to discuss the matter further. “
Sylvanas’ plan of misinforming the enemy faction has worked as they believe an army is marching on Silithus to claim the Azerite. Heroes of the Horde and the Alliance fought side-by-side during the Argus campaign. Order halls, class members have been brought together to stand against the threat of the Legion. To think that Sylvanas is ready to cast that unity aside, yet Mathias Shaw leader of the SI:7 shows up with disturbing news. Our reports were wrong, the Horde has diverted and is marching into Ashenvale. The night elves have already sent their forces towards Silithus to support the war effort that doesn’t exist. They must be halfway by now and the Kaldorei’s defenders left are the Darnassian city guard. They won’t last long against an army so we ride out to meet with their commander Delaryn Summermoon to buy as much time as we can until the fleet arrives.
“Soldiers of the Horde, ready your blades! Today, we march on the Kaldorei!”
The Horde army moves into Ashenvale while we meet up with Lorash, a rogue that’s going to help us sack Astranaar. Hundreds of them have already attacked Kaldorei outposts across Ashenvale, on his signal, they will begin the next phase of this war: sowing chaos.
First, let me signal the others to begin their assault. This fire burns with purple smoke. They should see it rise above the trees soon. After you, champion. You mark the safe targets, I’ll bring them down.”
Our targets are the guards in the city with the choice of not harming the civilians. Lorash doesn’t care either way, is a bit disturbed about killing a man in his sleep, but also compliments us for our style and is worried about alerting the guards. Being offered choice is very nice, yet on the Alliance side we find out that either our choice doesn’t matter or other forces came in and did the dirty work for us.
“The bodies...so many bodies... We tried to set a trap for the Horde. It failed. We could not stop them. Our outposts were taken by surprise. They fell one by one. The guards were poisoned. And the civilians...not even they were spared. I only hope that some managed to flee before... Forgive me friend...who did you say you were? Are you the one Malfurion spoke of?”
“There are more wisps than I can count. The loss of life... Merciful Elune, please bless the fallen.”
Anduin or Shaw were the ones sending us to help her, but apparently, Malfurion is also aware of this as she asks if he’s the one who sent us.
Either way, we need to keep in mind that with the Battle for Azeroth collectors edition, we’re also going to get 2 short stories. Both take place around the same time but told from either factions point of view and it’s uncertain when exactly the events take place but I imagine it’s somewhere around this time. If you’re not ordering the collectors edition, don’t worry they will be available online for free. In the preview, on the Alliance side, we have Elegy, in which we read about Delaryn and her troops being attacked by Horde forces and they discovered the rouse, they discovered that the Horde is not actually on the move to Silithus. A messenger is sent to Malfurion while another is sent out to check how far the Horde has already moved in. It’s just a tiny preview while the Horde side is called A Good War which has Saurfang in Astranaar.
Malfurion shows up too which the orc challenges him to Mak’gora, knowing that he doesn’t stand a chance against the Archdruid. The rest of the troops flee while their duel takes place, a duel interrupted by Sylvanas who saves Saurfangs’ life. That’s all we really have at the moment and I can’t wait for the full versions to be released, but it makes sense for this to take place while we’re still at Astranaar.
Details unclear, but it’s pretty certain that Astranaar falls to the Horde too which they move on to their already established outpost of Zoram’gar. We make sure that they’re ready to accommodate the might of the Horde, while Delaryn back at Astranaar wants us to honor the dead and take care of the of the butchers that still skulk Astranaar.
Early Alliance quests:
: Report to King Anduin Wrynn in Stormwind Keep.
: Report to Master Mathias Shaw for further instruction.
: Report to Captain Delaryn Summermoon in Astranaar.
: Honor the bodies of the fallen soldiers in Astranaar.
: Slay 8 Forsaken Assassins in Astranaar.
: Find Malfurion in Ashenvale.
“Do you hear the screams?”
We must defeat the Horde and their vile Warchief, though it might cost us that which we hold most dear. The forest stirs as Malfurion summons the wisps like he did during Warcraft 3 to take care of Archimonde. This time he calls upon the ancestors to form a protective wall and halt the hordes advance.
“You will come no further, banshee queen.”
“Soldiers...No! Do not rush the...”
“Fools...At least now we know how dangerous the wisps can be.”
“You may pass through the wall, hero. The wisps will not harm you.
Sylvanas has to deal with an ambush from Ashenvale huntresses and with most her troops demolished by the wall, retreats to Zoram’gar outpost.
“Malfurion! Horde forces have gathered at the Zoram’gar Outpost.”
The Banshee Queen seeks to capture the World Tree. Delaryn, travel to our outposts. Gather every soldier you can find and bring them here. ”
“And you, Shan’do?”
“Sylvanas seeks to engage me, and I plan to give her what she wants. Word has been sent to our fleet. Elune willing, they will soon return.’
“As you command!”
The ancients call to him and we must protect them at all costs. The Druids of the Claw are rallied to battle while the Blackwood Furbolgs have been driven to madness by the Horde’s invasion. If left to their madness they could strike us from behind while our forces engage the Horde. It pains them, but we must put the creatures out of their misery.
Meanwhile back at Zoram’Gar outpost, Sylvanas, Saurfang, and Nathanos are trying to figure out what to do about the wall...
“A wall of wisps? Surely it is nothing our dark rangers and a few demolishers cannot overcome my dark lady.”
“The scouting party I led to Malfurion underestimated the wisps. They paid the price for doing so. We cannot destroy the wisps...not in numbers enough to matter. But we may be able to disperse them.”
“Interesting. The wisps respond to Malfurion’s call. But what if more of the forest were to cry out for help?”
“Precisely what I was thinking. Champion, would you be so kind as to test our theory?”
Ancient magic is nothing against a bit of solid goblin ingenuity as we hop into a plane and bombard the crap out of the wisps and the trees.
“It seems the wisps are susceptible to distraction. We will exploit this weakness to get past them. Saurfang, take a squad into Felwood. Seek a path over the mountain into Darkshore, but leave the siege weapons under my command. We will squeeze Malfurion from both sides.”
“Warchief, there is no safe passage through Felwood.”
“Find one or make one. Time is a luxury we do not possess.”
“Hmmm...Know many smugglers, Blightcaller?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“I am not naive. There is little chance that Everlook receives all its cargo through legitimate means. Someone is using a hidden route through Felwood.”
“Most smugglers would prefer to avoid the attention of the High Overlord...but I believe we can locate one who can be persuaded to assist us.”
“Then it is decided. Saurfang, Nathanos – you will leave at once.”
Autobots, move out!
“Form ranks! Weapons ready!”
While Saurfang and Nathanos go on their own adventures through Felwood, we meet up with Sylvanas who uses her dark powers to funnel through a small portion of our forces.
“We pass through the wall on my command! Brace yourselves... Pass through the wall quickly! I cannot hold it much longer!”
“Once a breach has been made, the pain is..bearable. Just...give me a moment.”
The wall will be a problem for a while halting the majority of our Horde forces, but for now, we have enough to push through, enough to take the Master’s Glaive from those savage elves. Malfurion must be gathering his forces so we press on through the forest, sacred to the elves, both a protective and defense measure for their land. Sentry owls are hidden amongst the trees spying on our every movement so we shut the eyes of the forest while the frenzied furbolg cannot be allowed to stand in our way.
With the eyes shut, only one thing remains: the ears. The ancients feel the vibrations of our footsteps and report our every move to Malfurion. Time to defeat the Burning Ancient at the grove where the Archdruid finally shows himself.
"Sylvanas. Your foul deeds desecrate this sacred place! Andu-falah-dor!”
“Malfurion. How gracious of you to join us... Who would have guessed that you would come to protect your precious trees?”
“Argh! My eyes! It burns! Where did you fly away to little bird?”
The crow has flown, but we’ve moved enough of our troops into Darkshore to establish a foothold. The local furbolg at the Blackwood Den will need to be slaughtered while Horde banners will rally the troops, but don’t worry... Once we have conquered Darnassus the Elders of the Blackwood tribe will be thanking us for murdering them...I mean restoring peace to the den. While the rest of our army sets up camp, the dark lady’s attention is drawn by something interesting at Nazj’vel.
“Sappers! Gather your gear and follow me! Bring every shredder we have.”
By the time Delaryn and the Alliance reaches the grove, a monstrous shredder is trying to desecrate it so we destroy it before the ancients of the forest are taken out and its Onu that points us towards the Blackwood Den. The ancients of the forest are all connected to one another and they sense a disturbance, the thundering clamor of war. Soon their brethren will answer in kind for nothing shall disrupt the balance of nature. Before that, it falls to us to take care of business and at the den we can see the remaining furbolg guarded by the horde.
“After you, champion. If you would like me to incapacitate any of them. Just say so. But...quietly. “
Their camp has already been built but that doesn’t mean we can’t do a bit of damage by sabotaging their demolishers while the elder furbolg are escorted to a safer place. It’s Onu that senses which interested the Dark Lady so much, but the powerful force he’s sensing at Nazj’vel is hurting him. We discover that a massive deposit of Azerite is the source of his pain. The Horde is already hard at work gathering it despite Sylvanas saying:
“Azerite…With this in our grasp, all who dare to oppose the Horde will fall. Proceed with caution, champion. It seems the Alliance has beaten us to it. That ship must have come from Darnassus...Which means... I have a crow to hunt. ”
Bit of a time mix up unless one side wiped out the other and their leaders are unaware, either way, both sides go in and kick the other factions booty while also collecting the Azerite.
“Brothers and sisters! The Horde is pressing further into Darkshore! Rally at the Wildbend River. “
Malfurion and his forces hold the line at Wildbend River yet we do not stand alone. The ancients have answered the call and on their branches, we do some massive damage to the enemy. Yet Sylvanas and the goblins have been working hard at weaponizing Azerite and, from the sky, they unleash its deadly potential upon the enemy. Both sides acknowledge that this battle is a stalemate. For every enemy they slay, two replace them on the battlefield.
“Wildbend River is locked in a stalemate, and Malfurion knows it. We must stay the course for now. I will continue leading our soldiers through the wall while we await word from Saurfang. In the meantime, we will do all that we can to keep the Kaldorei under pressure. We shall not afford them the luxury of a peaceful night’s rest. This is war. “
The banshee queen seems to have forgotten that she’s fighting night elves, while Malfurion actually believes that they’re too few in number to stand toe to toe. They must fall back and regroup in Darnassus. If we hope to push the Horde out of our lands, we must call upon all the strength our people have to other. The druids, the priestesses, the sentinels, all are called to arms to defend their lands against the encroaching Horde. Only together can we hope to end the stalemate at the WIldbend River while even the fleet that was en route to SIlithus makes its return.
“Our fleet has returned from Silithus, Elune be praised! Their might is sorely needed. King Anduin will send his soldiers to aid us. We must hold our ground until they arrive. Your deeds will not be forgotten by the Kaldorei, hero. The aid you lend in these dark times could make all the difference.”
“May our will be stronger than their machines of war.”
“A war is not won or lost in a single battle. Our day will come.”
: Regroup with Malfurion and Delaryn at Darnassus
: Use the Fey Dragon to defeat Horde enemies and their demolishers.
: Find 8 hidden Druids of the Claw.
: Slay 10 frenzied Blackwood furbolgs.
: Defeat the Monstrous Shredder.
: Find those who cry for help within the Blackwood Den.
: Find the source of Onu's pain.
: Find Malfurion at the Wildbend River.
: Join the Ancients to slay Horde enemies.
: Rally the Kaldorei forces in Darnassus.
: Speak with Commander Grimfang, the Innkeeper, and the Weaponsmith.
: Meet Sylvanas near the entrance to Darkshore.
: Defeat the Alliance ambush.
: Meet with Saurfang and Sylvanas in the Zoram'gar Outpost.
: Disrupt the Alliance forces in Darkshore.
: Slay Night Elf forces in The Master's Glaive.
: Destroy glaive throwers in The Master's Glaive.
: Eliminate the Sentry Owls in the trees and slay the frenzied furbolg of Darkshore.
: Defeat the Burning Ancient.
: Defeat Elder Brolg, Gren Tornfur, and Elder Brownpaw.
: Drive the furbolgs out of the Blackwood Den.
: Plant 3 Horde Banners in Blackwood Den.
: Collect Azerite from 6 Azerite Deposits.
: Kill 10 Hippogryph Archers.
: Follow Sylvanas to Nazj’vel.
: Join the battle at Wildbend River.
: Regroup with Lady Sylvanas Windrunner at the Blackwood Den.
After these quests are unlocked, you can participate in
Darkshore World PvP
, which includes Bounty Hunter and Air Supply Drops, plus extra PvP Talents!
In Battle for Azeroth,
will have more benefits including the
Destroying the Wall
“For the HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORDE!”
“Saurfang, it’s about time. Look around you, hero! What a lovely sight – the wisps are scattering. One by one, the wall comes crashing down. Now is the time. The World Tree is our for the taking! Find Saurfang. We shall finish this once and for all.”
“FOR THE HOOOOOOOORDE!”
“That sound...could it be...? Shan’do! The Horde is approaching from the north!”
“The north? How did...Oh, they scaled the mountains of Felwood. Of course! The wisps...they’re growing disoriented! The wall is failing!”
“Horde forces are advancing upon Lor’danel! Champion, to me!”
It’s Lor’danel where our next fight takes place and honestly, the events can take place either way or maybe even at the same time. On the Horde side, we have Saurfang who made his way across the mountains and is ready to take Lor’danel. This is all that stands in our way before we can capture Darnassus and reclaim Kalimdor. We’re told to route the defenders, but we will not slay innocents. If they do not raise arms against us, we shall spare them, capture the civilians, question them and then release them. Makes you wonder what happens if a civilian doesn’t want to talk, while Carana Briarbow and Ariel Stagguard are the commanders in the area. Without their leadership, this force will crumble so we take their lives...with honor!
The Alliance does pretty much the same. They kill the Horde invaders, they slay two of the Horde’s strongest warriors, Gormok Axefal and Ragash Bloodwish, that have lead a charge to try and capture our fleet while we rescue as many civilians as we can. Yet despite our best efforts, the Horde is relentless and Lor’danel is overrun.
Sylvanas vs Malfurion
Securely in the Horde’s hands, Saurfang wonders why we haven’t seen Malfurion on the battlefield. He would never let Lor’danel fall without a fight so he must have gone after the banshee queen... In the forest we find the 2 locked in battle.
“The warchief faces Stormrage alone! I must...”
“An audience – perfect! Stay still, Alliance dog. Watch me strike down one of your greatest heroes!”
“A dishonorable blow. I...regret it.”
“Regret nothing. You did well. “
“It was not my place to interfere.”
“My victory was inevitable. He was merely wasting my time. Finish him and be done with it. Take a moment, if you like...then take his head. Meet me at the World Tree. ”
“You have led...your Horde...in service...of death. You will...regret this day...”
Tyrande shows up
“Malfurion! No! You did not kill him, orc. Why? ”
“I struck without honor. I did not deserve to end him.”
“This entire war is without honor. How dare you spill so much innocent blood...for nothing!”
“Not for nothing. We spill blood so that the Horde will endure.”
“Because you spared Malfurion, I will offer you a choice. Attempt to stop me from taking him away, and die...or remain there, kneeling in the dirt, and live. ”
“You have a choice as well. Take him to Darnassus and both of you will fall when we conquer it. Or flee somewhere far from here so that you both survive.”
You have a choice as well. Take him to Darnassus and both of you will fall when we conquer it. Or flee somewhere far from here so that you both survive. Come, champion. We must follow our warchief to...victory.”
“This war is lost. Teldrassil will soon fall. Take my hippogryph to Darnassus. Ensure that the Horde’s occupation is as...tolerable as it can be. King Anduin gave me a hearthstone back to Stormwind. There I will tend my love’s wounds...and help my people find respite from this madness. ”
Despite her prey, her target being on the floor at her mercy, Sylvanas decides to walk away and let Saurfang finish the job. He doesn’t and instead, Tyrande takes her husband away, leaving behind their people. Instead of trying to fight, rally or find a different plan, she abandons the battlefield and tells their champion to make the occupation of Teldrassil as pleasant as possible.
Back at the warchief we find a whole bunch of dead elves and Captain Delaryn Summermoon kneeling on the ground. We tell her we’re ready.
“When I sent you on this mission, I did not foresee this outcome. Our attack was meant to end a war before it began....to capture an enemy’s home and annihilate their leaders in one stroke. To inflict a wound that would bleed the Alliance dry. We have only partially succeeded. The ALliance will retaliate. They will come for us. For me. For you. But they ARE bleeding. THeir anger will prove a weakness, not a strength, in the war to come. Rest while you can. Prepare for the battles ahead. I will have need of you.”
Sylvanas Windrunner leads the Horde to victory, but a chance encounter causes her to make a decision that will forever change the course of history on Azeroth. She did not come here with the intention to burn the tree, but the words of Delaryn change her mind. Some interpret it as the realization that capturing Teldrassil or even taking out Malfurion would not be enough to crush the hope of the Alliance. She would have to take it further and so gives the order to burn down the world tree Teldrassil. As a reward, Horde players are given the War-Torn Reins of the Undercity Plaguebat, a bat from the future it seems as it has a rather interesting mount journal description.
Later Horde Quests:
: Find Saurfang in Lor’danel.
: Capture 8 Lor'danel citizens.
: Kill Caranne Briarbow and Ariel Stagguard.
: Slay 15 Lor'danel defenders.
: Scour the forest of Darkshore to find the Warchief.
We've taken pictures of the Warbringers Cinematic in
. Delaryn represents a younger, idealistic version of Sylvanas trying to save her homeland, while present-day Sylvanas has sadly transformed into Arthas and everything she used to fight against, seeking out unusually cruel forms of punishment to secure her victory. As we read more of the novellas, we'll see even more parallels between Delaryn and the Ranger-General, as Delaryn proves quite resourceful, constantly being a thorn in Sylvanas' side, similar to how younger Sylvanas vexed Arthas in the campaign.
Meanwhile, the Alliance goes back to Darnassus in an attempt make the occupation as tolerable as can be, but that’s made rather difficult with the tree being on fire. Belysra Starbreeze, the same Starbreeze from the Scythe of Elune is looking for her child Ishala, but more citizens are trapped by the flames. Mia Greymane, queen of Gilneas wants us to help evacuate as many civilians as we can. Time is against us and there are so many of them. The heat of the flames saps at our strength until our body becomes heavy as our lungs fill with smoke...and we pass out...
“Hero…hero? Can you hear me? I am...relieved...I found you...Astarii....hurry. Evacuate the city...before it burns... ”
“Mia...MIA! Open your eyes, my queen... My love! You can’t stay here any longer! We must escape through the portal!
“The tree...they’re burning the tree! The child...save her. Leave...me.”
“Never! I’ll take you both! Astarrii, you’ve done all you can! Command the priests to come with us!”
“They...will not go...”
“The banshee murdered my son. Stole my kingdom. She will not cost me my beloved!”
“May your goddess watch over you.”
We report back to Anduin with the dire news. Teldrassil has burned and the night elves are without a home.
“You have shown courage and heart, champion. On this, one of the Alliance’s darkest days. My whole life, I have prayed for peace in this world. But that dream can never be realized so long as Sylvanas Windrunner leads the Horde. She expects this atrocity to crush our spirits. Shatter our unity. But this I vow... The Alliance will endure...and the Banshee Queen’s insidious reign will be ended.”
Reward: Smoldering reins of the Teldrassil hippogryph: One of the last of the great armored hippogryphs to escape the burning of Teldrassil. It carried the last few citizens it could to safety before collapsing of exhaustion.
Later Alliance Quests
: Find Malfurion Stormrage in Lor’danel.
: Rescue 8 Lor'danel citizens.
: Take out Horde forces in Lor'danel.
: Eliminate Gormok Axefall, and Ragash Bloodwish.
: Find Malfurion Stormrage in Darkshore.
: Evacuate the Citizens of Darnassus.
This is one of the darkest quests in WoW, as there's no way you will be able to evacuate all of the required citizens the quest requires of you.
: Use the Portal to Stormwind.
Battle for Azeroth Novellas
And that’s the War of Thorns campaign which leads into Battle for Azeroth and the Siege of Lordaeron. Now I’ve spewed my opinion on stream and during my reaction video in which I had some problems with this storyline. You might have caught some of the sarcastic remarks I made, but here’s the thing... The Battle for Azeroth Collector’s Edition stories are not so much short stories, rather 70ish pages each including art. The book, which if I got right should also become available online, tells not so much a different story, rather a much more detailed one up too the point where I scratch my head and wonder, why don’t we see this in-game?
From this point out in the article, Nobbel will touch upon important points in the novellas and I'll then chime in with my own thoughts and speculation.
Sylvanas’ Motivation for War in
A Good War
So one of my biggest complaints was the motivation behind this war. Sylvanas wants to stay alive and mentions Anduin by name, accusing him of the things she’s been doing and I would have much rather have seen them use the Alliance as a whole, see some sort of threat there, not just Anduin that’s been known to keep the peace. Past motivations as seen on the PTR, but here is the motivation in full as described in
A Good War
"You are not Garrosh Hellscream, why do you want to throw the Horde into the meat grinder again?
Sylvanas’s eyes did not waver, even in the face of his rage. "If I dedicated myself to peace with the Alliance, would it last a year?"
"Yes," Saurfang said curtly.
"How about two years? Five? Ten? Fifty?"
Saurfang felt the trap closing in on him, and he did not like it. "We fought side-by-side against the Burning Legion. That creates bonds that are not easily broken.
"Time breaks every bond." Sylvanas leaned across the table. Her words flew like arrows. "What do you believe? Will peace last five years or fifty?"
He leaned forward, too, his face inches away from hers. Neither blinked. "What I believe doesn’t matter, Warchief. What do
"I believe the exiles of Gilneas will never forgive the Horde for driving them away. I believe the living humans of Lordaeron think it is blasphemy that my people still hold their city. I believe the ancient divide between our allies in Silvermoon and their kin in Darnassus is not easily mended." There was a smile on Sylvanas’ face. It was not a pleasant one.
"I believe the Darkspear tribe hasn’t forgotten who drove them from their islands," she continued. "I believe every orc your age remembers being imprisoned for years in filthy camps, wallowing in despair and surviving on human scraps. I believe every human remembers the tales of the terrible Horde that caused so much destruction in its first invasion, and I believe they blame every orc for that, no matter what you people have done to redeem yourselves. And I remember very well that my first Forsaken were once loyal Alliance citizens. We died for that banner, and our reward was to be hunted as vermin. I believe that there will be no permanent peace with the Alliance – not unless we win it on the battlefield on our terms. And believing that, answer this, Saurfang: what use is delaying the inevitable? "
"The boy in Stormwind will not start a war tomorrow," Saurfang said.
Her eyebrows lowered. "With Genn Greymane in his ear? We will see. "
That was a concern, Saurfang had to concede. In the thick of fighting against the Burning Legion, Greymane had launched a mission to kill Sylvanas. It had gotten some of Stormwind’s few remaining airships destroyed.
There were whispers that Greymane had ordered the attack without Anduin’s permission, but as far as Saurfang knew, Greymane had not been punished. The implications of that were troubling, and every possible explanation led to the same conclusion: the old Worgen would always drive the Alliance toward war against the Horde.
Sylvanas’ eyes glittered. "And the boy is becoming a man. What if that man decides that he has no choice but to launch war on us?"
There’s a bit more but you get the idea right? They use the history between the Alliance and the Horde to motivate it. In their mind, even a hundred year peace would be a coward’s bargain if they could claim dominance, secure peace by force. You could argue that if time breaks all bonds then what’s stopping that from causing another war once they claimed dominance, you could argue that words might bring them greater profit, you could argue that order halls still need a better explanation for turning on each other, but man is this so much better then what was portrayed in-game.
Then their game plan its still similar, capture the tree and take out Malfurion, but it’s explained in greater detail. The plan is to capture the world tree to splinter the unity amongst the Alliance. They’d seek vengeance of course, but they’d have citizens hostage, they would not dare to strike at the Undercity for fear of their people. It would take them years to muster a fleet to even attempt to do so.
How would Gilneas respond to the Alliance reclaiming Teldrassil before the home of the Gilneans? Infighting, Anduin in his new role of High King having to deal with a political crisis, the respect the others give him is a courtesy, not an obligation. If the Alliance will not march as one, each nation will act in its own interest. Each army will return home to protect their lands from the Horde. One single Horde victory would cripple the Alliance for years, destroy them from within. Then they could strike peace with the individual nations and carve them away from the Alliance, piece by piece.
It’s interesting to see the motivation laid out in full in the novella. While datamining the initial motivations, we
posted some dialogue
which created an uproar.
”The Horde's children, and their children's children will curse our memories as they burn.
If life had any mercy at all, you and I would exist in peace for the rest of our days. We have both seen enough of war, but neither of us has seen the last of it.
The Horde and the Alliance have been at a stalemate. Both of our armies have been exhausted against the Legion.
But therein, I see an opportunity.”
This was later changed to be the following:
"What is certain is that Teldrassil and its Night Elves pose a clear threat to the peace and safety of the Horde on Kalimdor.
Darnassus will serve as a safe harbor for smuggling azerite to the Eastern Kingdoms. We simply cannot allow this to occur.
To win this war, we must control the azerite. To control the azerite, we must eliminate the Kal'dorei threat.
We do not have time to waste.”
As the initial dialogue is covered in the novella, perhaps that should have been included in-game…or did it have to be? Perhaps we, as soldiers conscripted by the Horde, don’t know everything Saurfang does. We’re given an audience with the Warchief, meant to feel special, given a reason that appeals to our sense of war…but not the full reason and extent of her plan to eventually take over Stormwind.
It would also be interesting in the novella to learn more about the reactions other Horde leaders have. The novel primarily covers Sylvanas, Nathanos, and Saurfang, with a few soldiers very excited to be fighting the Alliance.
We do get a reaction from Baine, who knows something is suspicious. However, as we learned in
Before the Storm
, Sylvanas has essentially blackmailed Baine into compliance, revealing that she knows about his correspondence with Anduin.
”If you want to sit in the desert for a few months, you are welcome to join me,” Saurfang said lightly.
“Is that where you’re going?” Baine’s tone did not waver, but his eyes were ice.
Saurfang did not let himself show surprise.
Baine knows the real plan
, the orc realized. He didn’t know
, but the tone of the Tauren’s voice made it clear he knew something.
I need to stop underestimating him.
It's also interesting to note that a fatal flaw in Sylvanas plan is...what if the Horde start fighting among themselves, splitting off into smaller factions? Did Sylvanas overlook this fact? Or, as we cover in the "Ulterior Motives" section, maybe she has other plans besides hoping the Horde can obliterate the Alliance and live peacefully among themselves for generations.
Calculating, cunning and might actually work. We do read in
that their expectations would fall regardless of outcome as Anduin speaks with Greymane:
"And what of Gilneas? What will you say to me if I choose to help the Kaldorei first?"
Which he would, especially if the Horde threatened thousands of prisoners. And Genn knew it.
"I cannot act if the Alliance is divided," Anduin said. That’s what this action is intended to do, Genn. Not just take Darnassus. But to use it against us, striking at the very heart of what makes our kingdoms the Alliance. Sylvanas is going to turn us against one another. That’s the grand plan. I was a fool for not to see it earlier."
Genn was silent for a long time. "When did you learn so much about strategy?"
Anduin laughed humorlessly. "I was reading when I should have been sparring."
a fool." Anduin turned to regard him, surprised by the words. "A fool to think for a moment that I would withdraw my support because you are helping the Kaldorei. Do I want my kingdom back? My people to return to their homes? Of course, I do! Do I want it badly enough to allow innocent night elves to suffer, when they so generously have helped the Gilneans these last few years? When they mitigated the Worgen curse, so we could hang on to ourselves and not get lost in madness? When they fed us, sheltered us, and offered us their home when we had
Genn made a dismissive noise, somewhere between a huff and a snarl. "No, I would never betray that kindness by turning my back on them now. Sylvanas certainly doesn’t understand the Alliance. She is in for a rude awakening, and you can mark
mark your words, Genn Greymane, and my heart is full to hear them. They are a beacon in a time of terrible darkness. "
Both men turned to see Tyrande standing in the doorway still dressed in her priestess's robes.
So yeah union amongst the Alliance, but a much more understandable motivation and battle plan for the Horde.
Sylvanas is clever and calculating, but here it shows that she has misjudged her opponents. Sylvanas is brilliant but does not have a good understanding of what the living think.
She assumes that Genn will selfishly fight for Gilneas, causing trouble if the Alliance tries to take back Teldrassil first. However, she underestimates his loyalty to Anduin as well as his people’s personal attachment to Darnassus. Mia Greymane is one of the last to leave Darnassus, evacuating as many as possible until she’s wounded by the falling debris and Genn must rescue her.
She also misjudges how hope works. She treats hope as a finite source, something that expires after a certain point is reached. At first, she believes hope will be lost if Malfurion dies, and later on if the tree is burned. But the Night Elves still hope—Delaryn fought in Lor’danel knowing she’d die and it was buying time for others to survive after she bade farewell to Malfurion and wondered if he’d also meet a similar fate. Tyrande, thinking Darnassus would fall to the Horde, stayed in Stormwind to lead her refugees. The priestesses in the temple, knowing they were staying behind to die, still called upon Elune for mercy to ease the suffering of others.
When Sylvanas describes the Alliance’s retaliation on Undercity, she says: When they come from us, they will do so in pain, not in glory. That may be our only chance at victory now.
However, when the Alliance reflect, they have a message of unity:
There was no strategic purpose, no possible reason to destroy the tree. Far from it—with this unfathomable decision, Sylvanas had united the Alliance in a way nothing else could.
To the Alliance, there’s no sense of the calculations Sylvanas went through to reach the decision to burn the tree. To them, it simply doesn’t make sense and they remain united, more so than before.
It would be interesting to get more reactions from leaders of the Horde, as the novella ends with Saurfang looking at the burning remains. All we know is that next week, in the Battle for Lordaeron, we see many Horde leaders fighting with Sylvanas, but we don’t know their thoughts on Teldrassil. Are they joining her out of fear, not wanting their homelands to be attacked next?
Decision to Burn the Tree
Unfortunately the last moments, the passing the kill on to Saurfang and deciding the burn the world tree..they haven’t really improved in my opinion. The motivation for burning it is described as inflicting the wound that Malfurion’s death should have suffered.
But since Saurfang refused to kill him, she had to do something else and at that moment decided to give the other. Saurfang screams for them to stop firing, this is not their way, this is not what he signed up for, but it was already too late.
The screams continued. They reminded him of Shattrath. He had loved the sound, then.
Smoke filled the air, reminding him of Stormwind, of racing through the streets as buildings burned all around him, finding cowering humans and butchering them as they begged for their lives. He had loved the slaughter, then.
And he had loved this war too, hadn’t he?
Saurfang did not move for hours, not until the screams faded and the flames had burned themselves down to embers. Before him, stood a smoking husk that had once been a great civilization. Inside him was a feeling of despair, a feeling of shame. There was no haze of corruption now to soften the horror.
Saurfang would remember this moment in his dreams forever. He would relive his shame, and all the new ones to come, over and over again.
You have led your Horde in the service of death
, Malfurion had said.
How could Saurfang face the soldiers he had led into this war? How could he explain what they had done?
He couldn’t. He would never know how.
But the burden would be his, always, until his dying day.
As Saurfang turned away, he hoped that day would come soon…
I agree with Nobbel that the last moments were not improved in my estimation…but perhaps we shouldn’t expect more nuance for Sylvanas. Perhaps when we talk about the story of Azeroth being morally grey it doesn’t include her.
The morally grey in this story seems reserved for Saurfang, undergoing a bit of character development in the novella. At the start of the novella, he has personal disagreements with Sylvanas but puts them aside to serve the Horde, creating the brilliant military plan that led to the Horde’s victory.
However, over the course of the novella, he grows a conscience. Saurfang’s entire persona is one of old-school Horde honor, and he starts to question what that really means. Is he truly honorable if he instinctively backstabs Malfurion? If he’s truly remorseful about Teldrassil burning, why was he so happy planning earlier parts of the war? He even questions his military history, remembering atrocities he committed under the corruption. When Sylvanas' praises him for defeating Malfurion, he feels numb.
"This was your victory. None of this--not this battle, not Malfurion's defeat--would have happened without you. You have earned this honor. Take a moment, if you'd like, and then take his head. I will meet you in Darkshore."
And with that, she disappeared over a rise to the north.
Saurfang felt numb.
You have earned this honor.
This character arc fits in with the Saurfang we see at Lordaeron. While he’s by Sylvanas’ side at the start of the battle, he starts to question her orders, eventually abandoning his post, losing to the Alliance, and taken to Stormwind prison. When the Horde go to rescue him, along with the Zandalari, he stays behind, refusing to join the Horde.
High Overlord Saurfang: You think you are here to take me back to Orgrimmar. Back to the Warchief. You are mistaken.
High Overlord Saurfang: I have stopped counting the days I have sat in this cell. But it matters not in the end.
High Overlord Saurfang: After all she has done, I will never return to the Horde.
High Overlord Saurfang: Make sure you know the difference between loyalty and honor.
High Overlord Saurfang: And pray you never have to choose.
High Overlord Saurfang: We both know you are not here for me. Those you seek are down the hall.
First Arcanist: I see... If you are certain, High Overlord.
High Overlord Saurfang: I am. Lok’tar.
Disturbingly, none of the other Horde members express guilt or seem struck by his words. However, a part from
A Good War
hints that Sylvanas will be very concerned about this:
Honor was all Saurfang had left. Honor and the Horde. She did not know what he would do if either were taken from him.
He would become my enemy, a terrible one.
At the start of Battle for Azeroth, Saurfang has renounced the current Horde, and at the end of
A Good War
, he’s rethinking his concept of honor. I can’t wait to see where this story goes as Battle for Azeroth progresses.
Blizzard later released a Saurfang cinematic, which ties in very well with our observations on his regrets, questioning his Honor, and disillusionment with the Horde.
Night Elf Defense
The campaign itself actually describes the Night Elves with a lot more bite, a lot more mini skirmishes and fighting back rather than saying in the midst of battle they don’t even want to fight. The ending is heartwrenching when they figure out that the battle they knew from the start would be near-impossible to win, does not end in an occupation, but in a roaring fire, genocide of their people.
Mia is saved by Genn at the last moment, in her arms is the last child of the Kaldorei to be saved from Teldrassil. They name it Finel, The last occupants, and the priestesses who remained behind held their people close. Astarri asked Elune for one final blessing, not for healing or for rescue, but for mercy. And their goddess heard them as Astarri began to sing.
’By the moons’ glow, listen. Beside the river, listen. Holding those you love, listen. To the cries of the dying, To the whisper of the wind over the silent dead….
Sleep brushed Astarri’s mind, feather soft, honey sweet. The pain disappeared. She let out a sigh. All around her, she heard similar sounds.
There would be no pain in the lady’s light, in the lady’s love. Mother and child both slept, breathing gently despite the smoke. Her duty faithfully discharged, Astarrii allowed her own eyelids to flutter closed.
There will be justice one day, but eyes other than ours will behold it.
The last thing she heard was a cracking sound as she slipped into slumber.
Reaction to the Night Elves
As a Night Elf main for over 10 years, reading about the defense filled my heart with pride…and the ending with the evacuations was very difficult to read. I was disappointed that Warbringers: Sylvanas essentially hijacked a major lore point for the Night Elves and turned it into a cipher for the Sylvanas-as-Arthas metaphor, as the deaths of Varian, Vol’jin, and Ysera focused on their subjects with the proper weight.
Reading about the Night Elf defense and the elaborate strategy that went into their skirmishes shows that they are skilled fighters and made the best of terrible odds, while in-game they seem a bit weaker and disorganized. It’s made clear in the novella that they realize they hardly have any chance of winning from the very start, and do everything they can to buy time for their people to evacuate to Stormwind. There’s a striking contrast between the Night Elves trying to save as many of their people, while Syvlanas may be concerned about taking over land, but doesn’t have the same connection or concern for the well-being of her inhabitants.
Tyrande doesn’t simply vanish as well. In-game, her absence can look like she abandoned her people. However, she first travels to Stormwind to help plan the apparent-attack on Silithus, then once the evacuations start, she remains in Stormwind to oversee the refugees as she knows that is important for morale. She does pay one last visit to Darnassus and then prays to Elune to find Malfurion—an act which stills Saurfang’s blade and lets her escape.
The ending is heartwrenching—reading about the cries of the Night Elves burned alive, the destruction of the Temple of the Moon and the iconic statue crumbling, the cries of the prisoners in Darkshore watching their families burn before them. As Astarri stays behind to take care of those who could not escape, I was reminded of the mother and infant paralleling the two moons of Elune, the Lady, and Child.
While Warbringers: Sylvanas depicted the Burning of Teldrassil, it was used partially as a framing device for Sylvanas’ character, to draw parallels between her and Arthas. The additional details in the novella, while dark and difficult to read, provided the proper weight and gravity for the victims of the burning.
Throughout the novella, we have lyrics to the Elegy of Darnassus interspersed between chapters. They show up at the start of each chapter, and then Astarri and Tyrande sing verses at the very end. Wouldn't it be amazing if this was turned into a song which we later saw NPCs singing, as well as the music to a cinematic, like Warbringers: Jaina?
Ow boy, way more details I want to share then I expected but like I said the book just adds a whole lot more detail to the story. A detail that honestly should have been represented in-game and in my opinion did not come forward well enough. There’s also the mention of Sylvanas planning more then she tells Saurfang.
Perhaps she had even stayed Saurfang’s killing blow. And she wouldn’t be the only force beyond the Alliance to oppose Sylvanas’ true objective.
I wonder what they’re hinting at, but as you can probably tell, I’m very happy with this additional storytelling. Hopefully soon this story will also be available online so you can read all the juicy details for yourself and by all means let know what you think so far.
Does this change anything for you? Been loving the discussion surrounding the events. With that, it’s time to call it a day so as always thank you very much for watching everyone! If you want more details on all the things we talked about today then, by all means, check out the related Wowhead article in the description down below. Subscribe if you like my videos, leave a like if you enjoyed this one and until next time guys...see ya!
As Nobbel mentioned, there are several hints at larger forces and stories at play in
A Good War
Nathanos finally spoke up. “And it will give you a chance to hunt Malfurion alone, Warchief.”
The look in Sylvanas’ eyes gave Saurfang pause. She was more annoyed than he would have expected. If the Horde managed to kill both Tyrande and Malfurion, yes, it would be a great victory that would weaken the Alliance, but the objective was supposed to be conquering the World Tree. That wedge would split the Alliance no matter who ruled the night elves.
Saurfang considered, not for the first time, that Sylvanas wasn’t telling him everything.
During the battle of Darkshore, Sylvanas again notes:
Perhaps he would find a glorious death on the battlefield before he ever had to face a choice that would destroy him.
Or maybe the old orc will surprise me, she thought. Maybe he will face the world as it is and choose to fight onwards at my side. If he doesn’t well…That can wait.
As Sylvanas plans to invade Teldrassil, annoyed by Saurfang’s decision to spare Malfurion, she hints at her true motives, as Nobbel mentioned above:
Elune had intervened. Perhaps she had even stayed Saurfang’s killing blow. And she wouldn’t be the only force beyond the Alliance to oppose Sylvanas’ true objective.
Sylvanas’s anger grew cold.
She had known this would happen. It had simply come sooner than expected. That was all.
What is Sylvanas’s true objective? Is it a mission of death? Perhaps Delaryn Summermoon touched a nerve, not just in her statement about hope, but in her proclamation that Sylvanas was the enemy of life. Her obsession with Malfurion, a being closely intertwined with the life of the forest, and her statement in
that eventually all will serve death, points to a larger battle at play. Her constant clashes with Malfurion in the forest, first starting with the mak'gora initiated by Saurfang and concluding with their duel outside Lor'danel, remind me of Arthas constantly vexed by Ranger-General Sylvanas.
we also heard the Void voices in Alleria’s head fearfully begging her to kill Sylvanas, as she wants to murder everyone. Perhaps the Void is another force, in addition to Elune and the Alliance, opposed to Sylvanas and Undeath. We learn in
Chronicle Volume 3
that the Old Gods sent the naga to aid Illidan to help him destroy the Lich King. We also learn that Arthas felt the Scourge was the best solution to fight both the Old Gods and Burning Legion, as the Alliance and Horde were too fractured and focused on bickering to prepare for a major attack.
Or perhaps Bolvar, the Lich King, would be concerned about Sylvanas’ crusade for death as she continues to mimic the actions of Arthas, including using blight and raising the dead in the Battle for Lordaeron. In the lead-up to Battle for Azeroth, we’ve already seen her replay her fall to Delaryn and her spontaneous reaction of anger to seeing Calia Menethil. Quite interesting that a relative of Bolvar appears in Battle for Azeroth, and Uther’s Tomb is also updated…
One interesting theory I have is that this is leading up to a change in the in-game faction system. The shocking events of the war, in which characters are unhappy following their Warchief, burning Teldrassil and spreading Blight in Undercity, are making many rethink their allegiances. With the possibility that Sylvanas isn’t really serving the Horde, but is using them for a secret purpose and the hints with Queen Azshara as a future boss pointing to Old Gods, perhaps we’ll see a re-organization of factions. Imagine Saurfang coming back to represent the Horde, giving a much-needed morale boost to the player base, while Sylvanas' plot continues in another direction.
As the battle shifts from one of Alliance vs Horde to Life vs Undeath, and mysterious sinister forces also battle for Azeroth, we could have some major lore shakeups forcing us to rethinking the way Alliance vs Horde are treated in-game as distinct, hostile groups. It’s hard to explain why Nightborne or Tauren Druids, following the events of Legion, would suddenly want to burn the World Tree, and having to shoehorn everything into an A v H conflict seems forced at points. Outside of the lore, Alliance vs Horde creates balance issues with top-end raiding and PvP, not to mention blocking off large amounts of content to players that only pick one faction. There would always have to be some impetus for conflict, and yes I know that a major shakeup to the Alliance and Horde would be wild, but we’ve just seen Teldrassil burn—so anything is possible.
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