World of Warcraft

A traitor within Ardenweald? Old-Gods on their way back?

wow2 - A traitor within Ardenweald? Old-Gods on their way back?
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Am I the only one to feel like the Ardenweald storyline is very disconnected from the rest of the shadowlands? There is no threat that is directly associated with the jailer outside of Mueh'zala ; the drusts invaded the place on their own motives. Right now their story don't bring much to the main storyline unless there is more to it, and that's likely the case : Illusion and deception are recurring themes of this region.

One of the very early quests of Ardenweald gets you ambushed by a deceitful boggart who pretends to need your help to save his "granny". This quest appears as a warning that you shouldn't trust your eyes in this realm, a threat that gets reaffirmed in the final quests of the Night Fae Campaign where we kill Ara'lon because he was disguised and mind controlled by Gorak Zhar. The drust illusion was so good that even Lady Moonberry was fooled despite regularly using illusions for her own plays, even if she did notice it in the end. This raises the question: Could there be more illusions around, hiding in plain sight? Who could they be, and what would be their influence on the story? Before talking about who the traitor might be, let's just talk about who can do illusions.

The obvious first suspects are the boggarts who are all about changing shape and achieving mischief. Nevertheless they don't bring us very far as most of them just go with their spriggan friends and turn themselves into scary creatures. Despite being intelligent, they lack culture and have a bad understanding of social norms; this how you detect them amongst the crowd in Moonberry's theater. Even if they wanted, they likely wouldn't be capable of faking an elaborated role for a very long time, moreover they're likely too immature to act as spies.

In fact they are the contrary of spies, they give us information : As they can only transform into creatures they know, they show us the scary monsters they were exposed to. Most of the time it just proves that they were in contact with the drusts, but there is something way more interesting in one of the isolated islands at north of Sylvarden… The shifting dreads living there only take the appearance of servants of the Old-gods : The models used are of Mantid kunchongs, Nerubians & G'huun worms. It seems like the Aqir had a presence here and probably attacked the woods in the distant past.

It gets even more interesting once you remember there are still some Old-Gods quotes that remain ambiguous, and some of them talk about a "black forest". Here are some quotes that could be relevant:

From – Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron

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  • The silent, sleeping, staring houses in the backwoods always dream. It would be merciful to tear them down.
  • There is a little lamb lost in dark woods.
  • Look around. They will all betray you. Flee screaming into the black forest.
  • Have you had the dream again? A black goat with seven eyes that watches from the outside.
  • All places, all things have souls. All souls can be devoured.
  • There is no sharp distinction between the real and the unreal.
  • What can change the nature of a man?
  • Even death may die.

From – Y'shaarj

  • When you walk among the black forest, you will see.

From – Ill'gynoth

  • The vassal of life disguises treachery. Beware the eyes of green.

Those quotes used to be associated with the emerald dream, but what if they referred to another forest? We know Yogg-Saron was aware of the existence of the shadowlands, after all the Icecrown citadel was built on his own blood spike so he probably already tried to reach the maw himself. What if this black forest was about Ardenweald or even Thros, the land of the drust?

The reason it matters is that no drust illusion could realistically reach the court of Night while staying undetected, the court members are too picky on who can approach the Winter Queen. Also, narratively speaking, there would be little use in treason if it didn't have a massive impact on the story. If mister Yogg himself had a role in this, he could actually approach the queen and lead her into the wrong path or even try to control her with a drust mask if the chance came. So who would he be?

There are some NPCs like Lord Renard who seem to be important and have no role yet, but they would make for a boring treason. A most believable suspect would be Kivarr the Thornspeaker, this ancient drust lady supposedly knows the drust more than anyone else. She was locked by drusts using three different keys to show how dangerous she was, but when it came to actually save someone from the drust curse, her power proved useless and even killed the victim. This failed ritual led the Wild Hunt to conclude it is impossible to save those affected by the drust. Thus, the Queen didn't hesitate one bit when it came to kill her own people. It's also worth noting Kivarr was the one to send Ara'lon alone to search for components. She also noticed how Gorak Zhar looked suspicious but still didn't tell anyone to stop.

I'm curious to know what you think about all this. Do you think this is all confirmation biais or is there indeed something suspicious going on? I'm quite curious to know how the story will evolve with this.

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