Know Your Lore: Azshara and the Blue Dragonflight

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Of all the zones to get face lifts in Cataclysm, none deserved it so much as Azshara, the formerly level 50 zone that had a scant 32 quests available during vanilla. Azshara was just a small part of the former home of Queen Azshara and the Highborne, and one would think a zone with that kind of potential would have more to offer. In Cataclysm, the zone has become a level 10-20 area for Horde, and some of the zone's lore offerings have been expanded upon. Others raise more questions than they answer.

In between all the goblin advancements, one place directly addressed was Lake Mennar, former home to a ton of blue dragons for no discernible reason whatsoever. Lurking nearby was Azuregos, the batty blue dragon who was an outdoor boss and the key to the blue scepter shard for opening the gates of Ahn'Qiraj. Lake Mennar proper served as little more than a farming area for the Azure Whelpling. Why was the Blue Dragonflight so fascinated with Lake Mennar? There's a story behind that, and it goes all the way back to the War of the Ancients.

Over 10,000 years ago, Azeroth consisted of one gigantic continent called Kalimdor. Queen Azshara, who was so beloved that the capital city's name was changed in order to name it after her, ruled the night elves. Azshara made her home in Zin'Azshari with the rest of the Highborne, her chosen favorites, magic users and masters of the arcane. While dabbling with the magic of the Well of Eternity, the Highborne along with Azshara were duped by Sargeras into creating a portal using the powers of the Well, in order to let the Burning Legion into Azeroth.

At this time, Lake Mennar was known as Mennar Academy, a place of quiet contemplation and study for those who wished to study the arcane arts. It was there that the night elves first discovered the potential of the Well of Eternity's power -- but the elves of the academy weren't so certain it should be used the way that Azshara demanded. Rather than flee during the War and join the other night elf forces against Aszhara's plans, the students and mages of Mennar Academy stayed behind. This was baffling to those who were fighting the Burning Legion's forces. It was assumed at the time that Mennar Academy had possibly thrown their support in with Queen Azshara and the Burning Legion.

After refusing to fall back, the elves instead put together a series of magical barriers in an attempt to keep the Legion's forces out. This was a terrible idea, of course, as little could withstand the might of the Burning Legion. When the Legion's vanguard got to Mennar Academy, they destroyed it and left little behind but ruins and rubble, no survivors. Obviously, the students of Mennar Academy weren't playing with the wrong side, otherwise the Legion would have left them alone -- but why they stayed behind was a mystery lost to time, until Cataclysm.

Throughout vanilla, players approaching Lake Mennar found blue dragonkin, members of the Blue Dragonflight, guarding the lake and surrounding area. The Blue Dragonflight is the one associated with guarding and watching over magic, all magic -- so it's pretty obvious that they'd have some interest in an area formerly associated with the Well of Eternity. Lake Mennar doubtless reeked of magical properties that the blues had an interest in -- but further revelations in Cataclysm indicate it may have been much more than just energies the blues were after.

The magic of the Mennar Academy wasn't just in its studies. It turns out the students of the Mennar Academy weren't stubbornly refusing to leave during the War of the Ancients, nor had the switched sides. Instead, they had their own plans for dealing with the looming threat of the Burning Legion. They sought to create an artifact called a Sarcen Stone -- an object used to divert ley lines of magical energy. With this stone, they hoped to pull enough magical energy away from the Well to prevent Azshara's plans from reaching fruition. After creating it, they hid it away, hopeful that neither Queen Azshara nor the Burning Legion would find it.

This is probably the reason why the Blue Dragonflight was so obsessed with Lake Mennar. It wasn't just the latent magical energies of the area; it was the Sarcen Stone that had been carefully hidden away 10,000 years before. Part of Malygos' plans in Northrend involved diverting ley lines, redirecting them to the Nexus so that only he would be able to use them -- and the Sarcen Stone would have doubtlessly helped with that little project.

But Cataclysm found the dragonkin that wandered Lake Mennar suddenly absent, including Azuregos. Had they stuck around they would've found the Sarcen Stone -- it was unearthed during the shattering and easy enough to obtain. Where did this pocket of the Blue Dragonflight disappear to? And where was Azuregos?

The Blue Dragonflight's history is a tragic one; Deathwing's betrayal during the War of the Ancients all but wiped out the Blue Dragonflight and drove Malygos mad in the process. Prior to his madness, Neltharion and Malygos were close friends -- which made his destruction of the blue flight even more devastating to the Aspect of Magic. During The Burning Crusade, a dragon named Tyrygosa discovered the Netherwing dragons of Outland. After observing their curious properties, she took some to Azeroth to show to Malygos, in an effort to cure his madness.

The plan worked; Malygos began to regain his sanity, but in that sanity, Malygos noted how many magic users were running around Azeroth rampantly casting spells and using magic. Fearing that the overabundance of magic would bring about the Burning Legion's return, Malygos decided that the "lesser races" use of magic was unacceptable and declared war on them all. This began the Nexus War that we see in Wrath of the Lich King.

The blue flight suffered great losses during the War of the Ancients, and they suffered even more during the Nexus War in Wrath of the Lich King. By the end of the expansion, Malygos, Aspect of the Blue Dragonflight, was dead, not by Deathwing's claws but by mere mortal hands -- and magic was without its guardian for the first time since the world's inception.

In Cataclysm, the Blue Dragonflight finds itself hunted once more by Deathwing and his kin. But why, exactly? Malygos is dead, and the blue flight is in tatters, so there should be little need to wipe the remainder of the flight out -- the Blue Dragonflight hardly poses a threat when compared to the sheer numbers of the Bronze, Red, and Green flights. Kalecgos, former protector of Anveena and current Ambassador for the Blue Dragonflight, has set out to gather the remains of the beleaguered blue flight and take them to safety.

This includes Azuregos, who hasn't really disappeared at all. Over the course of a mad scramble across Azshara, players finally discover Azuregos' whereabouts, as well as some odd information regarding Kalecgos and the Blue Dragonflight.

Well get to it then. You're the one veering off onto all these unnecessary topics.
I'm the... forget it. I'm here to warn you that the black dragonflight is here hunting you.
Oh. That? Thought I hadn't noticed the scorched earth and senseless slaughter that usually give them away? I'm not THAT old.
You already know? Why don't you go stop them then?
Why bother? It's not like they actually have even the slightest clue where I am. They're not going to do any harm to the already-found artifacts around here.
Anyway, one of the amusingly convenient things about evil and destruction is that they tend to just evilly destruct each other eventually.
But Kalecgos is already out there trying to stop them. He needs your help.
He's going after them? And he sent you to ask me for help? Was there begging? Were there tears?
<Azuregos stares off into the distance as a toothy smile creeps onto his face.>
You know, if I came to his rescue, there's no way he could ever live it down. Maybe he'd make me one of those little Sunwell girls of my very own.
No offense, Anara.
You'll come then?
Yeah yeah, I'll come to his rescue.
Don't you fall into his little center-of-the-world hero bit though! He just likes the attention. I swear, he thinks he's going to be the next Aspect. It's laughable.

He thinks he's going to become the next Aspect because he is going to become the next Aspect. During the Quests and Lore Q&A panel at BlizzCon 2010, it was confirmed that Kalecgos would be stepping up as the next Aspect of Magic. While that's all well and good for Kalecgos, it does raise a few questions as to how exactly Kalecgos manages to pull this off.

The original Aspects were created and imbued with certain aspects of the Titans themselves, long before the Sundering or even the existence of night elves. Part of what makes an Aspect what they are is the fact that they were given gifts from the Titans. However, the Titans have long been absent from Azeroth. Even when Loken's death in Ulduar triggered a planetary fail-safe protection left by the Titans, they sent Algalon to look over the world rather than showing up themselves. Every mention we've seen of the Titans indicates they aren't coming back; they've got other, better things to do. So how does a regular blue drake step up and suddenly take over the office that was originally Titan-gifted?

More importantly, if a regular blue drake can step up and declare himself an Aspect, what does this mean as far as the other Aspects are concerned? Can they pass the mantle on to another if they wish to do so? Better yet, does an Aspect need to be a dragon at all? It was hinted at the BlizzCon 2010 Quests and Lore panel that Thrall would have something to do with the Aspects and Deathwing's defeat in the future. In addition, a future novel by Christie Golden titled Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects hints at the same thing.

Will the former Warchief become an Aspect in his own right? Is it possible for those that aren't dragonkin to do so? Why is Deathwing obsessed with hunting down a dragonflight whose Aspect is dead? Only time will tell, and it seems as though that question is going to be directly addressed in upcoming content. As for Azshara, despite the goblin terraforming, or perhaps because of it, the ancient birthplace of night elf civilization is far from being puzzled out in its entirety.

If you want to know more about the lore mentioned in this Know Your Lore, consult the following:

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.