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The Old Gods (also known as the Dread Elders, the Elder Gods, the Old Lords, the Old Ones, the Old Kings, the Prime Evils and the Old Whisperings) are chaotic, physical manifestations of the Void. They are nightmares incarnate: mountains of blighted flesh and writhing tentacles that grow like cancers within the worlds of the Great Dark. They live only to transform the worlds they infest into places of despair and death, serving the void lords.
Composed of pure shadow energy, the void lords are monstrous entities. These beings are cruel and merciless beyond mortal comprehension. Driven by an insatiable hunger, the void lords seek to devour all matter and energy in the physical universe, including the energy of the Old Gods if they have any.
|Known named Old Gods|
Before life even began, before even the cosmos took shape, there was Light ... and Void. In the form of a boundless prismatic sea, the Light swelled across all existence. The ocean of Light was dynamic and ever shifting. Yet as it expanded, some of its energies faded and dimmed, leaving behind pockets of cold nothingness. From the absence of Light in these spaces, a new power coalesced and came to be. This power was the Void, a dark and vampiric force driven to devour all energy, to twist creation inward to feed upon itself. The Void quickly grew and spread its influence, moving against the waves of Light. The mounting tension between these two opposing yet inseparable energies eventually ignited a series of catastrophic explosions, rupturing the fabric of creation and birthing a new realm into existence. In that moment, the physical universe was born. The energies released by the clash of Light and Void raged across the nascent cosmos, raw matter merging and spinning into primordial worlds without number.
The catclysmic birth of the cosmos flung shards of Light throughout reality. These shards suffused the matter of myriad worlds with the spark of life, giving rise to creatures of wondrous and terrible diversity. Composed of the primordial matter from which the universe, the titans are godlike beings who were uniquely susceptible to fel magic. Their spirits - known as world-souls - formed deep within the fiery core of a small number of worlds. For ages, these nascent titans slumbered, their energies suffusing the celestial bodies they inhabited. When the titans finally awoke, they did so as living worlds. With eyes that shone like stars, they observed the fledgling cosmos and became enraptured by its mysteries. They wandered the distant corners of the Great Dark, searching for others of their kind. This grand, far-reaching voyage would one day alter the course of creation and shape the destiny of all living things.
The Birth of the Old Gods
From the moment the cosmos came to be, dark spirits within the Void sought to twist reality into a realm of eternal torment. These entities were known as the void lords, and they had long watched the Pantheon and their journey from world to world. Although extremely powerful, their power would drain quickly after entering the physical world. Envious of the titans, the void lords sought to corrupt one of the world-shaping Pantheon into an instrument of their will. To achieve this goal, the void lords struggled to manifest in the physical universe. Eventually, the void lords moved to exert their influence over a titan in its most vulnerable state: before it had awakened.
The void lords did not know which worlds contained slumbering titan spirits. Thus they pooled their power and hurled dark creatures throughout the universe, hoping some would smash into a world-soul. An unknown number of the void lords' creations hurtled through the Great Dark. They contaminated mortal world and everything they touched in their blind search for a nascent titan. In time, these wicked beings would come to be known as the Old Gods.
The Coming of the Old Gods to Azeroth
In an isolated corner of the Great Dark, a miraculous new world was taking shape. Deep within this world's core, the spirit of a mighty and noble titan stirred to life. One day, it would be known as Azeroth. A group of Old Gods plummeted down from the Great Dark and slammed into Azeroth's surface, embedding themselves in different locations across the world. These Old Gods towered over the land, mountains of flesh, pockmarked with hundreds of gnashing maws and black, unfeeling eyes. A miasma of despair soon enveloped everything that lay in their writhing shadows.
The Discovery of Azeroth
During his long and lonely journeys, the titan known as Aggramar sensed something extraordinary: the tranquil dreams of a slumbering world-soul, billowing across the cosmos. The song of life led him to a world that the Pantheon had not yet discovered, a world they would later name "Azeroth". Nestled within the world's core was one of Aggramar's kin - one far more powerful than any yet encountered. The spirit was so mighty that Aggramar sensed its dreams even through the din of activity that rattled across the world's surface. Yet as Aggramar drew closer to Azeroth and beheld the world, horror seized him. Void energies shrouded the world's surface like a layer of diseased flesh. From the ruined landscape rose the Old Gods and their Black Empire. Miraculously, the nascent titan's spirit remained uncorrupted, but Aggramar knew it was only a matter of time before it succumbed to the Void.
Aggramar sought counsel with the rest of the Pantheon, informing them of his discovery. Aggramar urged the other titans to take action with all due haste before Azeroth was lost forever. Azeroth was one of them - a lost and vulnerable member of their family. The Pantheon could not abandon their own sibling to the clutches of the void lords and they unanimously agreed to save Azeroth, no matter the cost. Aggramar formulated a bold plan of attack: all members of the Pantheon would travel to Azeroth and purge the Black Empire that had claimed it. They would not, however, take action directly. Due to their colossal forms, Aggramar feared the Pantheon would irreparably damage, or even kill, the world-soul. Instead, he proposed creating mighty constructs to act as the Pantheon's hands and prosecute their will against the Black Empire. Under the guidance of the great forger Khaz'goroth, the Pantheon crafted an army of enormous servants from the crust of Azeroth itself: the aesir and the vanir. The aesir were fashioned from metal, and they would command the powers of storm. The vanir were formed from stone, and they would hold sway over the earth. Collectively, these mighty creatures would be known as the titan-forged.
The members of the Pantheon imbued a number of their servants with their specific likeness and powers to lead the rest of the titan-forged. These empowered beings were called keepers. Though they would develop their own personalities in time, they would forever after bear the mark and abilities of their makers. Aman'Thul gifted some of his vast abilities to Highkeeper Ra and Keeper Odyn. Khaz'goroth bestowed his mastery over the earth and forging to Keeper Archaedas. Golganneth granted Keepers Thorim and Hodir dominion over the storms and skies. Eonar gave Keeper Freya command over Azeroth's flora and fauna. Norgannon lent a portion of his intellect and mastery of magic to Keepers Loken and Mimiron. Lastly, Aggramar imparted his strength and courage to Keeper Tyr, who would become the greatest warrior of the titan-forged. With this new army molded from the world's crust, the Pantheon went to war. The time to shatter the Black Empire and free Azeroth from its malign influence had come...
The Fall of the Black Empire
As one, the keepers turned their righteous gaze on the heart of the Black Empire: the sprawling city built around the Old God Y'Shaarj. By toppling the bastion on Azeroth, the keepers believed they could crush their enemies in one swift stroke. The keepers and their allies battled their way toward the mountainous form of Y'Shaarj, who was more powerful than the keepers expected. It poisoned the minds of the titan-forged, drawing out their fears and darkening their thoughts. The Pantheon grew concerned that the Old God would overwhelm their servants. Despite the risk of harming the world, they decided to take direct action. Aman'Thul himself reached down through Azeroth's stormy skies and took hold of Y'Shaarj's writhing body. With a heave of his mighty arm, he tore the Old God from the crust of the world. In that moment, Y'Shaarj's bulk was ripped apart. The immensity of the Old God's death rattle shattered mountaintops and obliterated hundreds of titan-forged where they stood. Y'Shaarj was dead, but its tendrils had bored more deeply through Azeroth than Aman'Thul had ever imagined. In excising the Old Gods from the world, he had ripped a wound in Azeroth's surface. Volatile arcane energies - the lifeblood of the nascent titan - erupted from the scar and roiled out across the world.
Horrified by this turn of events, the Pantheon realized they could not risk killing the other Old Gods in such a manner. The malignant creatures had embedded themselves so deep into the world that tearing them out would destroy Azeroth itself. The Pantheon knew that the only course of action was to imprison the Old Gods where they lay and contain their evil forever. It would be a difficult task, but it would be possible with the aid of the keepers. At the Pantheon's behest, the titan-forged devised a plan to shatter the last vestiges of the Black Empire. They would battle each of the Old Gods directly. Once they had weakened the creatures, Archaedas would create subterranean chambers to contain them. Mimiron would then fashion colossal machineries to lock the Old Gods in place. When this work was done, Loken would imbue each prison with a great enchantment that would neutralize the Old Gods' evil.
The Flesh's Curse
Yogg-Saron had devised a plan to weaken its jailers and escape imprisonment. It would corrupt the Forge of Wills, tainting its creation matrix with a strange malady known as the curse of flesh. Any titan-forged created by the machine thereafter would fall victim to this affliction. Some would even spread it to previous generations of the titan-forged. The curse of flesh would gradually transform many of these infected servants into mortal beings of flesh and blood - beings who the cunning Old God knew could be easily killed. To implement this plan, Yogg-Saron turned to the Keeper Loken. Out of Ulduar's guardians, Loken had been the most troubled by the Pantheon's silence. Yogg-Saron assailed the keeper through fevered dreams, stoking the fires of his despair. Yet even in his disturbed state, Loken resisted the whisperings in his mind. Ultimately, his downfall would come from a much subtler place.
As Loken drifted deeper and deeper into despair, he sought comfort from Sif, the mate of his brother, Keeper Thorim. Loken often met with Sif in private, telling her of his darkest fears. In time, a forbidden love blossomed between the two titan-forged. Yogg-Saron latched onto Loken's love for Sif and twisted it into a dangerous obsession. The relationship quickly soured due to Loken's behavior. Ultimately, she broke all ties with Loken, demanding that he leave her in peace. The thought of losing Sif drove Loken to madness. In a fit of anger and jealously, he lashed out at his love and killed her. Much to Loken's surprise, the visage of Sif forgave him. She also warned him of the need to act with haste, lest Thorim learn the truth. If he did, the titan-forged would descend into civil war, and every pledge Loken had made to the Pantheon would be broken. She convinced him to build an army of his own using the Forge of Wills, one large enough to protect Ulduar from the depredations of the giants. Eventually, Loken noticed something unsettling among his warriors. A dark affliction suffused their spirits. Loken called out to Sif again for advice, but this time, she remained silent. Dread overtook the keeper as he realized that her spirit had not existed at all. She was an illusion created by Yogg-Saron.
The Nightmare of the Old Gods
The Shattered Realm of Draenor
In the Burning Crusade expansion, a group of Arakkoa known as the Dark Conclave attempted to summon an entity described as an "ancient and powerful evil" into Outland. It is nearly identical in appearance to the first named Old God, C'Thun. This may indicate that at least one Old God landed on Draenor.
Vessel of DestructionThis section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.According to Malfurion Stormrage, one of the Old Gods is behind the Nightmare corrupting the Emerald Dream. Although the Nightmare Lord in the dream turned out to be the Satyr Lord, Xavius, it is suspected that he was working for higher powers. This seems to be confirmed in Cataclysm later on (see N'Zoth).
Working Alongside the Legion?
CharacteristicsThe Old Gods are characterized as the sleeping evil beneath the earth, whose telepathic whispers eventually become indistinguishable from one's own maddened thoughts. Beyond the things attributed to the Old Gods as a whole, individual Old Gods share some common factors between them. Both C'Thun and Yogg-Saron are fought with a section of their bodies sticking out of the ground in the center of a room, with an unknown amount of their forms remaining invisible below. They both appear to have countless tentacles below ground, which can come to the surface to aid in combat. The battles with both Old Gods call for damage to be done to something within each Old God's submerged form to weaken or remove a shield: Killing a Flesh Tentacle in the Stomach of C'Thun and weakening the Brain of Yogg-Saron in the Mind's Eye (which may or may not represent physical places within the two Gods).
The servants of C'Thun and Yogg-Saron, the Qiraji and faceless ones respectively, are similar in a few ways. Faceless ones have similar posture and shape to qiraji gladiators (Which may be due to recycling of wireframes, to some extent). Also, both groups have a general with vaguely similar names, General Rajaxx and General Vezax, and a religious leader, The Prophet Skeram and Herald Volazj (Harbinger Skyriss too, but his affiliation is unknown).
Named Old Gods
- Main article: C'Thun
C'Thun, the final boss of the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj, was the first of the four Old Gods to be named so far, having received that name from its creations; the Qiraji. C'Thun was struck down in Silithus during the dawning of the world, in a battle which may have also resulted in the defeat of a Titan. C'Thun was believed to have been slain permanently, but the Old God resurfaced over the course of history as the driving force behind the Qiraji. It is trapped deep beneath the ruined temples of Ahn'Qiraj, where it has exerted its will for thousands of years over its Qiraji avatars, who in turn command the Silithid swarm.
- Main article: Yogg-Saron
Described by the demigod Ursoc as "the beast with a thousand maws", Yogg-Saron is only the second Old God to be explicitly named as such. The dire entity refers to itself in ways as "the lucid dream", "the god of death" or "the true face of death", and appears to secrete a substance named Saronite across Northrend which is capable of driving any that have been exposed to it to murderous insanity (as may be the case with Garrosh Hellscream).
Saronite is the dried blood of Yogg-Saron, which the mortal races eventually fashion into armor. Slinkin the Demo-gnome discovered shortly before his demise that a mysterious connection seems to exist between the Old God Yogg-Saron and the undead Scourge. In his final note, he claims to have overheard some undead uttering the name "Yogg-Saron" with a tone of tremendous hatred and contempt, and that this was usually followed by outbursts of rage from other undead. Yet, the Scourge appear to be mining for Saronite on an industrial scale.
Yogg-Saron's underground prison extends through much of east-central Northrend; his influence has been felt directly in the Grizzly Hills (Vordrassil, the Grizzlemaw Furbolgs and Ursoc), Dragonblight (Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom, with faceless ones and a sect of the Twilight's Hammer dedicated to Yogg-Saron) and the Storm Peaks (Ulduar, and the corrupted Titanic guardian Loken). The Old God is located within his prison deep inside Ulduar, and is the final boss of the raid instance, much as C'Thun was the final boss in Ahn'Qiraj.
- Main article: Y'Shaarj
The Titans slew Y'shaarj, but with his dying breath he cursed Pandaria by infesting it with "shadows of his former self". The 7 Sha are the physical manifestations of these "shadows". In the Siege of Orgrimmar, it is revealed that Garrosh Hellscream found the heart of Y'shaarj and used it to empower himself and rule the true horde. However, after the final battle of the Siege of Orgimmar, Garrosh himself was imprisoned, the true horde defeated, and the Heart itself destroyed. This reduced Y'shaarj to a puddle, ending its influence, life and corruption once and for all.
- Main article: N'Zoth
The third named Old God remaining is N'Zoth, but has not appeared in game to date. N'Zoth may be buried under the sea, and is possibly related to the Faceless Ones. N'Zoth was also mentioned by name as aiding Deathwing via his minion Warlord Zon'ozz. The Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron has some possible quotes that may be related to the Old God itself.
- In the land of Ny'alotha there is only sleep...
- In the sleeping city of Ny'alotha walk only mad things.
- Ny'alotha is a city of old, terrible, unnumbered crimes...
- The drowned god's heart is black ice...
- At the bottom of the ocean even light must die.
- Have you had the dream again? A black goat with seven eyes that watches from the outside.
- In the sunken city, he lays dreaming.
- Main article: G'huun
The Fifth named Old God remaining is G'huun . In Uldir, the Titans had hoped to find a solution to the Old Gods. But when they experimented upon the Old Gods' unending ravenous need to corrupt, they unexpectedly created a perfect avatar of that desire. G'huun is nothing but rot, pestillence, and decay the ultimate parasite who cannot stop himself from consuming his host until it is gone.
Old Gods and Twilight Worship
Until recently, only little was known about the Old Gods and their maddened worshippers--practically none on Azeroth were truly aware of the existence of the Old Gods until C'Thun made its ominous presence clearly felt within the depths of Ahn'Qiraj. It is self-evident however the Old Gods possess worshippers across all the world's peoples and cultures somehow. The Old Gods are imprisoned and asleep deep beneath the earth, but their power is so vast that their maddening, destructive taint seeps from their prisons and appears to tear at the sanity of unknown numbers of Azeroth's inhabitants. To what extent sentient creatures can fall under the influence of the Old Gods in this manner is not well understood, but those who hear the Old Whisperings most clearly have joined together in a coalition that is known as the Twilight's Hammer. Many among these cultists and followers have lost every ounce of their sanity and have become completely unpredictable and malefic.
Through the leadership of the ogre-mage Cho'gall, a powerful servant of C'Thun, the Twilight's Hammer has in recent times become the focal point for mortal worship of the Old Gods, and the cult's influence has since begun to increase alarmingly. Former members of both Alliance and Horde inexplicably flock to join in service and seek to assist in bringing about the final hour of mortal existence on Azeroth. Large groups of the Twilight's Hammer have been observed to settle at or near sites where they believe the Old Gods or their minions are sealed away; many await C'Thun's awakening in Silithus, while others appear to serve Ragnaros in the Blackrock Depths alongside the Dark Iron dwarves. The largest concentrations of the Twilight's Hammer, however, are located at Grim Batol and the Bastion of Twilight, which are located within a region of the Eastern Kingdoms that is now referred to as the Twilight Highlands.
In some cases, evil but still sane individuals deliberately attempt to turn to worship of the Old Gods out of spite, when they feel that other, more mainstream powers have mistreated them. Anarchists also sometimes turn to worshiping the Old Gods out of a desire to destroy the world; some believe that a new, better world will rise up in the wake of the destruction. In either case, these individuals are deluded or misinformed and any who do manage to make even the barest real contact with the Old Gods go hopelessly and irrevocably insane.
C'Thun created avatars from the silithid in its own image. These avatars, known as the qiraji, represent dark and powerful mockeries of life, and have served as the Old God's heralds for millenia. Likewise, Yogg-Saron is associated with the entities known only as faceless ones, which appear to serve the Old God as its heralds and avatars as well.
Queen Azshara and the bulk of her Highborne people seem to have struck a pact with, or have fallen to, the power of the Old Gods, and have since become the monstrous naga. The naga have been seen in the presence of faceless ones in regions such as Vashj'ir, suggesting that the darkest fears surrounding the changes which overcame Azshara and many of the Highborne indeed hold true.
In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, players who decide to quest in Vashj'ir will first sail on a ship that will be destroyed by mysterious giant tentacles. There will also be strange tentacles in dark pools in the naga area on the Lost Isles. It appears that Stonetalon Peak is being attacked by an Old God or some of its minions. In Twilight Highlands, a minion of the Old Gods - Iso'rath can be found.
Whispers to Neltharion
- "The night elves will destroy the world..."
- "The Well is out of control..."
- "No one can be trusted... they want your secrets, your power..."
- "Malygos would take what is yours..."
- "Alexstrasza seeks dominion over you..."
- "They are no better than the demons..."
- "They must be dealt with like the demons..."
Whispers to Azshara
- "There is a way... there is a way..."
- "You will become more than you ever were... more than you ever were..."
- "We can help... we can help..."
- "You will be more than you have ever been... and when the time comes, for what we grant you... you will serve us well..."
Are Old Gods Demonic Or Demons?
Demons are evil immortals who feed upon life and magic according to the Warcraft Encyclopedia As such, Old Gods might fit that definition of demons and possess demonic qualities. However, the diagram of cosmic forces in World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 shows us that the Old Gods are separate from the Burning Legion and hence not demons in the normal sense. Ultimately. the Old Gods are agents of Shadow.
Do Old Gods contain, or relate to, Fel?
Whether retcon or not, the World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 established Fel as cosmic force originated from Disorder (aka chaos) and gave rise to the Burning Legion. The Burning Legion is actually an instrument of Sargeras to oppose the Void Lords and their primary servants, the Old Gods. So, it is extremely unlikely that the Old Gods contain Fel, but they are related in opposition to each other.
Now proven misleading, the Twilight's Hammer clan believed the Old Gods are creatures of chaos and so the force of the Old Gods could be "of chaos" by extension. The primal force of chaos is fel and, as creatures of chaos, it was possible that the Old Gods contained fel. Fel can pool into a green goop when it's in physical form and when it does, it becomes a fel slime. As fel is entropic, fel slime is entropic and when the tree that the Old God Yogg-Saron corrupted was brought down, entropic slimes sprang from the earth. However, based on what we now know of cosmic forces, these slimes may have been a reaction to an Old God's presence and not emerging from the Old God.
- The names and overall nature of the Old Gods are an homage to the various group of deities from the Cthulhu Mythos in the works of H.P. Lovecraft (first stage), Brian Lumley (third stage), and the Call of Cthulhu RPG. At least in name, C'Thun appears to be based on Cthulhu and Yogg-Saron appears to be based on the Outer God Yog-Sothoth
- Furthermore, the story which concerns the Titans' imprisoning of the Old Gods is an inspiration from the story August Derleth proposed as the ancient outcome of the war between the Elder Gods (represented in the Titans) and the Outer Gods (represented in the Old Gods). Many an alternative name, such as Dread Elders or Old Ones, exist of the Old Gods.
- N'Zoth may refer to HP Lovecraft's Azathoth who was the ruler of the Old Ones. Azathoth is mentioned in Lovecraft's Azathoth and the Dream Cycle Stories. This could also be a connection with N'Zoth being the corruption that infected the Emerald Dream.
- ^ The Master's Glaive, WoW. Blizzard Entertainment. Onu:
"That cult worships the old, old lords of the earth. Lords defeated long ago.".
- ^ Waking Legends, WoW. Blizzard Entertainment. Malfurion:
"Ysera's noble brood has fallen victim to the old whisperings.".
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 26 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 24 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 30-31 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 25 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 97 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 31-32 on iBooks
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 36 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 49 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 52 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 55 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 56-57 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 57 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 64-65 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 65 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 109 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 109-114 on iBooks
- ^ [60R]
- ^ Warbringers#Warbringers:_Azshara
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, 169
- ^ Demon
- ^ a b c File:TheCosmicForces-WoWChronicleSample.png
- ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter
- ^ Azathoth
- The Old Gods and the Ordering of Azeroth
- Tribunal of Ages
- Lorgalis Manuscript
- Prophecy of C'Thun
- Forgotten one
- Faceless one
- Elemental Lieutenants
- Old Gods speculation
- Twilight's Hammer clan