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Know Your Lore: The naga, part 1, page 2

Anne Stickney

Lady Vashj and the others helped Illidan fight his way into the Tomb of Sargeras, slaughtering any night elf who stood in their way, including the troops of Maiev Shadowsong, a night elf sentinel who was originally the jailor of Illidan and wanted to recapture and imprison him. Vashj and Illidan escaped with the artifact they needed for Illidan's plans, but Maiev escaped, too, and vowed to bring Illidan to justice for the deaths of her comrades. While Illidan dealt with Maiev, Vashj and her naga left for Lordaeron, for the next part of Illidan's plan.

There, Vashj found the leader of the blood elves, Kael'thas Sunstrider. Kael'thas was working under the orders of a racist human named General Garithos, growing more and more frustrated with the general's menial orders and insults. Vashj played upon this, offering Kael'thas aid when needed. When Kael'thas and Vashj were discovered working together, Garithos had Kael'thas and his men thrown in jail to be put to death. The naga managed to escape, and Vashj found her way into the underground prison where Kael'thas was held, freeing him and his men and killing the guards.

Vashj was just as cunning as Queen Azshara in many ways. She told Kael'thas of their common lineage and pointed out that the weakness he and he people felt was due to the destruction of the Sunwell -- that he and the other blood elves were addicted to magic, and without it, they would die. And then, she offered a solution: Ally with Illidan, her master, and he could surely cure the blood elves of their condition. Kael'thas agreed, and he and his remaining troops sought refuge through the remains of a portal, followed by Vashj and her allies. They emerged from the portal on another world that Vashj simply called Outland.

Despite Illidan's efforts to destroy the Frozen Throne, he failed. Illidan was given one last chance by Kil'jaeden and raced to beat Arthas, then general of the Lich King, to Northrend and the icy peak where the throne rested. Arthas and Illidan met, finally, at the base of the Frozen Throne and fought -- yet despite Illidan's power, Arthas was the greater of the two and won. He left Illidan to die in the icy snows of Northrend and ascended the steps to the Frozen Throne, where his own destiny awaited. Meanwhile, Lady Vashj and Kael'thas rescued Illidan, taking him back to Outland to recover from his injuries.

Lady Vashj never returned to Azeroth. Instead, she made her home in Zangarmarsh and continued to faithfully serve Illidan, though his defeat at the hands of Arthas seemed to be driving him slowly mad. Instead of returning to her queen, Vashj began her own project. Zangarmarsh was teeming with water, and Vashj began to drain it all into Coilfang Reservoir, where she made her home. Why? There are a couple of reasons this could be the case, one logical, and one based a little more on speculation and what we're seeing in Azeroth today.

Lady Vashj had been entrusted with one of seven vials of water from the original Well of Eternity that Illidan had saved just before the Sundering. It is entirely possible that Lady Vashj was seeking not just to make her home a more comfortable place but that she sought to recreate the Well of Eternity, just as the high elves had done with the Sunwell. With a new Well, Vashj could create a kingdom of her own and rule over the naga of Outland just as Queen Azshara ruled over the naga of Azeroth. After all, the downfall of the Highborne was that they sought power -- and what greater power could exist than the Well of Eternity, or a facsimile thereof?

The second theory, which again is based mostly in speculation, is reminiscent of the Deathwing theory that Matthew Rossi wrote about a few weeks ago. Much like Deathwing's "trial run" of destroying Draenor in preparation for what he would do to Azeroth, this was a trial run of what Queen Azshara wanted -- a world that would eventually fall underwater where the naga would reign supreme. Perhaps Vashj was simply working on something Queen Azshara had envisioned for Azeroth, a "trial run" to see if it were possible.

Lady Vashj was defeated by "a group of adventurers" (players who killed her in Serpentshrine Cavern), and with her death, the threat that loomed over Zangarmarsh has begun to fade. But the naga of Azeroth still have their own plans in mind. According to the official website's description of the Borean Tundra, the naga are still up to something, and it's very similar to what Vashj was up to in Zangarmarsh:
The Alliance has established a smaller presence here as well, and as both factions prepare to launch an offensive against the Lich King and his undead armies, they must first address the more immediate threat: the naga. The sinister serpentine race is using massive generators to melt the surrounding glaciers and ice caps, threatening to flood the entire region.
Queen Azshara doesn't just want power -- she wants Azeroth fully underwater, in her domain. But to what purpose, exactly? The destruction of the night elves has been her top priority all these centuries, but what people tend to forget is whom exactly Azshara answers to. The voices that offered to help her, change her, transform her people into something greater than they'd ever been. And when the time comes ... she and her people will serve. That time is quickly approaching.

Come back next week when we take a closer look at the naga of Cataclysm: Queen Azshara, the kvaldir and the mysterious sunken city of Vash'jir.

For more information on the people, places and history mentioned here, check out other Know Your Lore columns, such as:

While you don't need to have played the previous Warcraft games to enjoy World of Warcraft, a little history goes a long way toward making the game a lot more fun. Dig into even more of the lore and history behind the World of Warcraft in WoW Insider's Guide to Warcraft Lore.

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