Yesterday, Blizzard released a new, long audio drama, detailing the events of Alleria and Turalyon’s lives right after the combustion of Draenor into Outland, all the way up until Alleria’s imprisonment at the hands of Xe’ra.
It has everything I wanted and hoped for. Locus-Walker development, Alleria’s initial Void dabbling, an explanation for how Turalyon is thousands of years old, Xe’ra being a bitchy windchime, and Lothraxion!
The story is well worth a listen, or a read, since Blizzard has also posted the script for it.
There is a lot to digest here, so let’s focus on a few big lore hits that tie back into the game.
Alleria and Turalyon – Together In The Light, For A While At Least
The first, fascinating insight – their conscription into the Army of Light happens QUICK. Like, they’re trying to figure out what the hell is going on, in some pocket dimension after Draenor’s implosion, and they’re being hunted. An Eredar assassin is on their trail, but despite this demon, Eradication, being the best assassin, one who has never failed, Alleria easily dispatches him with a clever trick. It’s during this whole process that they meet Lothraxion, the Golden Dreadlord, and he sends them to the Mother of Light. Xe’ra. While this feels like a long time, it’s happening literally in the marginal amount of time after they have fled from Draenor.
It’s also worth noting here, that the Army of the Light really isn’t much of a thing at this point. The framework exists – the Xenedar, Lothraxion and the Draenei at Xe’ra’s beck and call, but there isn’t much structure around it, no actual army. It is through Turalyon’s vision, Alleria at his side, that this ragtag group is brought up to standard, made to an actual army, and begins their true campaign.
And both Alleria and Turalyon are walking in the Light. Turalyon, in fact, is quickly made into Xe’ra’s chosen – he is infused with Light, so much that it greatly empowers him to the point of glowing. Like a Super Saiyan, or other anime protagonist, he is so powerful that it changes him. This is the first point of Alleria’s turn to the void, as she befriends Lothraxion and ponders aloud as to when Xe’ra will deem her worthy.
But also, Alleria’s mind works as a hunters normally does, and she turns her attention to the Void. How to hunt them, how to slay them, and how to master them. She brings this to Xe’ra, her ideal – she wants to treat the Void like any prey, seeking to learn about it in order to bring it to it’s knees. Xe’ra, quickly and clearly, turns this down, and does so in a rather hostile fashion. We’ll revisit this point in particular later on, because it is critical to understand the lore direction we head in.
Alleria and Turalyon live together like this, him radiant in the light, and her basking in his glow, herself with Light powers…but also curious about the Void.
Their first trip to Argus, just the two of them, comes about at Alleria’s request, expecting Xe’ra to say no, or to approve only her to go, not with Turalyon. However, Xe’ra approves the idea of the excursion, sending them both to Argus. This trip marks Alleria’s first flirtation with the void, and also indicates something important about Lightsworn characters – they cannot often be communicated with as they are closed-minded, as Argus quickly sees Alleria and shares a vision with her, one not so easily seen by Turalyon.
Alleria allows Turalyon to escape – by leaving herself behind, but she does so with her first foray into the Void, opening a rift.
This is how Alleria is imprisoned, and it is in that prison where she loses Thas’dorah (Marksman Hunters can thank her later) and where she meets Locus-Walker.
Locus-Walker and Alleria, The Void
It is this segment of the story in which we learn the answers to many of the questions the patch 7.3 questing left. Alleria learns her first Void ability as means of escaping the prison, her soul about to be imprisoned in a soulstone. Locus-Walker teaches her this ability in exchange for freedom.
They do break out, and after this, Alleria is plunged into the Void by Locus-Walker. She hears the voices of it, the madness, all of it clawing at her mind. However, the story uses multiple moments to communicate a very important point – while the Light, Xe’ra especially, sees only one path, one truth, the Void sees many paths, all of which are true. This, in fact, is what leads people to believe the Void “lies” – but the truth falls between these two viewpoints. The specific wording and emotional weight tied to this does a great amount of explanation with minimal content – the Light and Xe’ra are ruthless and aggressive about “destiny” because they see only the one path and shun all others, however, in truth, there are many paths and they too can yield results. Where Locus-Walker believes in the multiple paths offered by the Void, Alleria finds even greater clarity, combining her understanding of the Light with the Void and using it to draw her to her truest path.
When she was fully of Light, the story shows that her first visions of her fate have many components, but the worst of them is her happily falling off a cliff, surely to her death. When this is revisited during her Void training, she sees a new path – towards Argus, both the Titan World Soul bearing that name and the planet bearing its prison, and she sees victory there. Xe’ra cannot see Alleria’s destiny, a point which is brought back into clarity here. Xe’ra cannot see because she is bound to the Light – infallible, but inflexible – the very thing that may prove it’s downfall.
Alleria, at this point, has such tremendous clarity of self and of the events that matter to her, that she becomes immediately aware of Turalyon being snuffed out by Eradication, the same eredar assassin from before, and uses her newfound Void powers to save Turalyon, ending Eradication for good by killing him in the Twisting Nether. By doing so, she chooses not to give herself over fully to the Void as Locus-Walker asked – which is later remedied in patch 7.3!
This act, her display of Void powers, angers Xe’ra greatly, and while Xe’ra is inclined to kill Alleria, Turalyon talks her out of it. Turalyon is more interesting for this plot point – absolutely devoted to two things – the Light, and his love.
Speaking of the Light…
Inflexible, Unmoving, Untrue? The New Nature of Warcraft’s Light
The Light, as we’ve discussed before, is one of a few things in Warcraft lore that has remained mostly a rigid, unequivocally good thing. Until 7.3, that is. In game, this change is shown solely through the limited actions of Xe’ra, and the discussion of her actions posthumously.
This audio drama, however, does much to enhance this newfound contrasting of the Light. Locus-Walker, and later Alleria, see the Light as something different, far different than it has ever been portrayed in Warcraft – absolute power, which binds absolutely. Those that follow the path of the Light are prisoners by choice – bound to serve the Light, whatever whims it may have. Bound to its perceived destiny, regardless of the viability of any alternate paths. Left to their devices, so long as they serve unquestioningly, and do not step out of line with the path the Light has chosen for them.
Both Xe’ra and Turalyon serve this viewpoint well in the story. Xe’ra, as the path-selector, the avatar of the Light’s vengeance upon those that stray. In her desire to see the destiny she believes in, she lashes out in a petty, dangerous manner against Alleria, only stilled because she cannot see Alleria’s destiny (and with some convincing from Turalyon). Turalyon is a softer version of this – the perspective of the servant, bound to the light from a young age by choice, but often bound to make difficult choices and terrible sacrifices to serve it. He and Alleria leave their son behind at Xe’ra’s request. They journey to Argus for her destiny, an act, that, should Alleria have acted without the help of the Void, would have gotten them both captured or even killed.
Without Alleria, Turalyon is effectively free…to be enslaved by the Light. As much as he desires to seek out his love, he does not, instead leading the Army of Light in their skirmishes on Argus, losing few troops but rarely gaining any ground.
I fucking love this lore, let it be known. I cannot get enough of it. The Light in Warcraft before this, was, IMO, rather boring and uninteresting. Religion from the perspective of the devout, devoid of any critical analysis. The Light has always been good, its agents always acting for the good of Azeroth, and those that turn villainous from Light-bearing origination are shown to have turned away from it. Arthas goes from Paladin to Death Knight, the Eredar we saw in places like Hellfire Citadel in Draenor shown to have turned more to fel and shadow in place of the light. This, though, this new development, is fascinating, precisely because of what it allows, which I’ll discuss below!
Wrapping Up – These Characters Going Forward, and The Newfound Excitement of Light and Void
With the expansion we seem likely to have, it seems that these characters are going to be the main NPC focus. Alleria and Turalyon joined now by their son Arator, Void and Light together alongside a child of Light and Shadow. Locus-Walker, the agent of Void who seems wholly uncorrupted by its madness. Lothraxion, the demon-turned-vindicator, agent of the Light, but familiar with the darkness. Joining our current leaders such as Khadgar, and whatever villians may come our way, there will be a stacked roster of NPCs available to explore the interplay of themes at the heart of this story.
More than that, though, imagine a villain unlike one we’ve ever faced – Light-touched NPCs! Servants, bound to the Light. What form could they take? I think the Army of the Light Draenei may splinter with our pre-expansion events. It would serve to build tension – those liberated from Xe’ra, free to walk their own paths, and those who derived all meaning from the Mother of Light, lost without her glowing touch to illuminate the path. Not corrupted, not void-touched or Fel, but true Light-aligned enemies.
Having said that, I think the ultimate avatar this is building to is a hostile Xe’ra, depleted of her light and forced to be that which she hates. A drained, void Naaru. Imagine the potential of it – as a patch raid of some sort, you fight through the Zealots of the Light (or some other faction name I don’t know!) as they work to reignite the spark of Xe’ra. You clear through them, only to find out that while they have succeeded – she is of the Void now, just as Mu’ru, K’ure, and L’ura before her. One thing she never told her army to ensure their unquestioning service, now brought to bear – the true cycle of the Naaru on full display. Her character is presented as infinitely overconfident, bound to her own prophecy and ideology fully – and here it would fail her and all those counting on her. Turalyon, too, would be impacted – seeing one of only two beings he places absolute confidence in fall to the Void and betray him would be an interesting point in his character arc. How would he respond, especially seeing his portrayal in this audio drama.
And further, Lothraxion – a likable NPC at present, however, here’s the thing that always bothered me about him. Of all the Demons you could choose in WoW to convert to Light, you picked the one most known for lying and deception – a Dreadlord? At first I thought it was an interesting contrast, but I see another potential route – if the Light is, in some ways, self-serving, would it not benefit a self-serving being like Xe’ra to have such an entity around? A liar – for the Light. Deceiving to bring more heroes into the fold – more servants for the path of the Light.
While yes, in reality, I do think this upcoming expansion will be primarily focused on the Void and Old Gods, the potential for a new type of Light – villainous and dastardly, is my cup of tea, and I would love to see it come to be.