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Know Your Lore: The Netherwing, page 3

Anne Stickney

Speaking of black dragons, there's another surprise in store on Netherwing Ledge. A black dragon appears in the sky over the Dragonmaw outpost, landing and taking the form of a blood elf named Lady Sinestra. Sinestra has the following fascinating conversation with Overlord Mor'ghor:
Lady Sinestra says: Overlord Mor'ghor, I presume... A pleasure to finally make your acquaintance. I am Lady Sinestra.
Overlord Mor'ghor says: I will not drag this out any further than it needs, Lady Sinestra. You have bent my ear, now tell me what it is that you want from the Dragonmaw.
Lady Sinestra says: You have no doubt heard about Nefarian's failures on Azeroth... While he has fallen, the experiment continues. My master... He continues the work that his progeny began.
Overlord Mor'ghor says: The... The master? He lives?
Lady Sinestra nods.
Lady Sinestra says: You were once a chief lieutenant, Mor'ghor. Your work in Grim Batol is not easily forgotten. Now... We need the eggs that you recovered. The Netherwing eggs. They are, after all, a product of the master. We will pay whatever price that you ask.
Overlord Mor'ghor stammers.
Overlord Mor'ghor says: Ye... Yes, yes... Of course. We need only the crystals and ore from this place. There is... We will need mounts.
Lady Sinestra says: The master will be most pleased with this news. The Black Dragonflight will provide you all that you ask. You will be allowed to ride upon the backs of our drakes as needed. I thank you for your graciousness, Mor'ghor. I must now take my leave.

So the Netherwing apparently don't just have the Dragonmaw to worry about. This isn't really addressed by any of the Netherwing in Burning Crusade however, not even the clever dragon Yarzill who has disguised himself as a goblin to help players out. Yarzill does want players to bring him Netherwing eggs, but warns that the eggs are extremely rare and hard to find.

At any rate, players continuing through the quest chain will soon find themselves rising through the ranks of the Dragonmaw, each promotion opening up new quests, and new things to see. Deep in the mines beneath Netherwing Ledge, players will find Murkblood Miners that have seemingly gone insane. After being sent by the Taskmistress of the mines to investigate a supposed revolt, a conversation with a Murkblood Overseer reveals that the Netherwing haven't limited their speaking just to players.

The Netherwing approached the Murkblood in the mines and promised them peace and protection if the miners would help the Netherwing with their plans. Unfortunately, this didn't go very well for the miners, and they are not only still trapped in the mines, but being hunted by the orc slavemasters. The Overseer talks about the Dragonmaw and their connection with Illidan -- the orcs are essentially strip-mining the island of Netherwing Ledge of all natural resources to supply Illidan's armies at the Black Temple nearby. He also mentions that the orcs are taking some of those supplies for themselves however, and selling them to the highest bidder -- rumored to be the Black dragonflight.

While there is plenty of mention of the black dragons, again, it seems as though the Netherwing themselves aren't largely concerned about it. After being promoted to the rank of highlord (the first highlord of the Dragonmaw, apparently), players are informed that the master himself is coming to promote them.

The master? Oh yes. Illidan Stormrage.
Overlord Mor'ghor says: Lord Illidan will be here shortly.
<Illidan Stormrage appears.>
Overlord Mor'ghor yells: All hail Lord Illidan!
Overlord Mor'ghor says: Lord Illidan, this is the Dragonmaw that I, and others, have told you about. He will lead us to victory!
Illidan Stormrage says: What is the meaning of this, Mor'ghor?
Overlord Mor'ghor says: But... My lord, I do not understand. <name>... <He/She> is the orc that has...
Illidan Stormrage says: SILENCE!
Illidan Stormrage says: Blathering idiot. You incomprehensibly incompetent buffoon...
Illidan Stormrage says: THIS is your hero?
Illidan Stormrage says: You have been deceived, imbecile.
Illidan Stormrage says: This... whole... operation... HAS BEEN COMPROMISED!
<Illidan immobilizes you.>
Illidan Stormrage says: I expect to see this insect's carcass in pieces in my lair within the hour. Fail and you will suffer a fate so much worse than death.
Overlord Mor'ghor says: It will be done, my lord.
<Illidan Stormrage takes his leave.>
Overlord Mor'ghor says: So you thought to make a fool of Mor'ghor, eh? Before you are delivered to Lord Illidan, you will feel pain that you could not know to exist. I will take pleasure in exacting my own vengeance.
Yarzill the Merc says: You will not harm the <boy/girl>, Mor'ghor! Quickly, <name>, climb on my back!

Just when it seems all is lost and you're about to be cut up into so much stew meat, Yarzill transforms back into his draconic self and in one of the most epic moments in Burning Crusade flies you to safety -- all the way to Shattrath. Upon landing, you are greeted by Barthamus, who identifies himself as the first of the nether dragons to hatch after their exposure to the Twisting Nether. As the first of the Netherwing, he offers you a choice -- any of the netherdrakes stationed in Shattrath will gladly join you on your missions in Outland, but you're only allowed to pick one.

While players can fly back to Netherwing Ledge and purchase any of the remaining five colors of drakes, the first one is a freebie -- a reward for helping the Netherwing overthrow the forces of the Dragomaw clan for good. For good you say? Yes -- Golluck Rockfist, the Horde ambassador to the Wyrmrest Accord in Dragonblight, mentions it directly. "Zuluhed and Nekros are dead, but the debt we owe to the reds is far from repaid". This pretty much implies that yes, Zuluhed really died when you killed him. Also, Barthamus congratulates players on 'single-handedly shattering the Dragonmaw empire', implying that the Dragonmaw are essentially no more.

But what of the Netherwing? Well, as far as Outland is concerned, they are now free to continue with whatever it is that the strange, ethereal dragons would like to do, however the nether dragons didn't just limit their appearance to Outland. Netherspite, an immense nether dragon, makes his home in Medivh's personal observatory in Karazhan. How exactly the drake managed to get into the observatory is unknown, although players traversing the tower may note that the top portion opens to an area simply titled 'Netherspace'. I'm guessing that Netherspite was just wandering around out there in Netherspace and decided Medivh's tower, being chock full of magical energy, was a good place to call home, but that's just speculation.

The other nether dragon taking his place in Azeroth was Zzeraku. When the Dark Portal was reopened just in time for Burning Crusade's launch, nether dragons attempted to cross into Azeroth, only to be met by a force of blue dragons. This is probably where Tyrygosa first discovered the existence of the nether dragons, and chose to go through the Dark Portal to observe them.The blue dragons made quick work of the nether dragons that pushed through however, and prevented all but one, Zzeraku, from entering. He was quickly captured by Sintharia, Deathwing's prime consort -- remember Lady Sinestra from Netherwing Ledge? That's her. Zzeraku was taken to Grim Batol for Sinestra's own purposes -- namely, infusing the dragon eggs she'd gathered with the essence of Zzeraku and then feeding the rest of his energy to the newborn hatchlings. In other words, Zzeraku was being used to breed dragon children, and then fed to his children to make them even stronger. Ew.

A draenei priestess named Iridi came to his rescue unexpectedly -- originating from Draenor, she was given a staff by the naaru upon completing her training. A friend of hers also received a staff, and the two eventually made their way to Azeroth to use their newfound powers to help people. Unfortunately, Iridi's friend was slain, and their staff was stolen by a blood elf named Zendarin Windrunner. Yes, he was related to the by now infamous set of sisters -- he was their cousin. Zendarin had allied himself with Sintharia and agreed to help her with her plans in exchange for new sources of magical energy to sate his addictions, but of course that was largely a lie. Zendarin really just wanted to take control of Sintharia's babies and use them for his own personal magic source and slaves.

Sintharia, of course, saw through Zendarin's plans easily. Iridi was successful in freeing Zzeraku, and he fought valiantly against Sintharia's child, Dargonax. The draenei priestess fed Zzeraku every ounce of power she had, but the nether dragon perished, devoured by Dargonax and gone for good. Iridi, having given everything she could in order to get rid of Dargonax and save Zzeraku, perished as well.

Having had to essentially raise themselves, the clever Netherwing have certainly made their impact on the Warcraft universe. For now it seems, the Netherwing don't have a large presence on Azeroth save for the mounts that people ride. But we definitely have not seen the last of the altered descendants of Deathwing, and it will be interesting to see where their strange heritage leads them in the future.

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