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Know Your Lore: The Shattering, part 2

Anne Stickney
October 16, 2011

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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.

One of the biggest questions people have in regards to the Shattering patch that took place at the end of Wrath of the Lich King is just how much time passed in game during those events. Unfortunately, there aren't any concrete answers to that question, which makes trying to muddle out time lines a little more difficult than usual. The official time line on the original World of Warcraft website was removed when the site underwent its major facelift, and a new time line was never implemented.

However, taking a look at the old time line over on Wowpedia seems to indicate that Blizzard likes patches to last approximately one year in the Warcraft time line. So classic World of Warcraft and all the events we encountered, from Molten Core to the original incarnation of Naxxramas, took place over the span of one year in the time line. The Burning Crusade and all events associated with it also took one year to complete. It stands to reason that Wrath of the Lich King would follow the same trend. But again, without concrete confirmation, we've got no way of really knowing for certain.

That said, the novel The Shattering seems to take place over the course of at least a few months or so, if not more, so there was a bit of a time jump between old-world Azeroth and the Azeroth that was implemented in patch 4.0.3a. And now, let's continue on with what went down in that novel, shall we?

Today's Know Your Lore contains pretty much every possible spoiler that exists for the novel The Shattering by Christie Golden. If you're avoiding spoilers, turn away now!

Naming a replacement

Thrall knew that the Horde needed a leader -- even if that leader was just a figurehead. After much deliberation, he settled on Garrosh Hellscream, who had earned tremendous accolades in Northrend and was beloved by the general public. But getting Garrosh to take charge was another thing altogether. When asked to step up and lead, Garrosh was not only shocked but unnerved by the very suggestion.

Garrosh was a fighter, a warrior, not a politician, and he certainly had no idea how to go about ruling the Horde. But Thrall reassured him that both Cairne and Eitrigg, his closest and most trusted advisors, would both be there to offer advice and guidance along the way. To Thrall, it didn't matter that Garrosh didn't have the political acumen required; what mattered was that Garrosh obviously loved the Horde with all his heart, and they loved him in return. And that was enough to satisfy Hellscream, who agreed to the temporary promotion and left Thrall free to take his journey to Nagrand.

Unfolding in Ironforge

Two weeks later in Ironforge, Magni Bronzebeard waited to enthusiastically greet young Anduin Wrynn. Anduin was a little wary at first, suspecting that perhaps his father's reasons for sending him to Ironforge didn't line up with Anduin's reasons for making the trip. But Magni was determined to make the young prince feel welcome, even insisting that Anduin call him Uncle. Anduin agreed and took an impromptu tour of the city, marveling at its sights as they made the journey to his quarters.

To Anduin's delight, Magni set him up with quarters not near the Royal Seat as expected, but just across from the library. To his dismay, he discovered that King Varian also arranged for Anduin to receive some lessons in fighting. The lessons were to be delivered by a sweet, cheerful Dwarf woman named Aerin. Though Aerin was friendly enough and obviously liked training Anduin, the young prince was far from battle-ready. Muscles sore from a workout that didn't even make Aerin break a sweat, Anduin eventually found his way to the Hall of Mystics.

Anduin had an affinity for the Light and would have loved nothing more than to study it, but it wasn't in the cards. He knew his father wanted him to train and become a warrior strong enough to leap into battle and lead the kingdom, but Anduin's heart didn't really want to go that way. While pondering this, Anduin met High Priest Rohan, who assured Anduin that he was welcome in the Hall any time he wished. It made Anduin feel a little better, but only a little -- he knew this wasn't the path his father wanted him to follow.

Events escalate

In Drek'Thar's hut, the old shaman continued to experience disturbing dreams. The dreams were getting worse every day, flashes of the elements trying to communicate their pain and agony. He woke, weeping, to a concerned Palkar. Yet when Palkar asked what it was Drek'Thar had seen, Drek'Thar could only brokenly sob that he didn't know.

In Ironforge, Anduin developed a routine -- training with Aerin in the mornings, followed by rides across the countryside. The two grew close, and Anduin asked Aerin about Moira, Magni's daughter. Aerin gave him some fascinating information in return. She said the situation was convoluted, not just due to Moira's kidnapping, that Magni had always wanted a son and that he was always faintly disappointed that Moira was a girl. The news shocked Andiun somewhat, but after returning to Ironforge, the matter was quickly forgotten when he discovered a summons from Magni in his quarters.

King Magni had just received a package from his brother Brann. It was a series of broken pieces of a mysterious tablet that Brann wasn't able to translate himself -- but they seemed to reference something about becoming one with the earth. Magni was well aware of the odd weather that the world had been experiencing as of late and was convinced that perhaps the ancient tablets could help sort out the root of the problem.

Earthquake and tragedy

The translation was a drawn-out process, largely because the translators often disagreed on the proper translation of the tablet. But there were other things to think about -- things like the earthquake that hit while Anduin was in the library with Aerin, the translators, and the tablet ... a library that was about to collapse on top of them all. Aerin leapt to shield Anduin from the falling debris, and after making sure everyone was all right, the two head to Kharanos, which was much harder hit than Ironforge. High Priest Rohan had already made his way there, and Anduin was convinced that he could help, too.

And help, Anduin did. Though he knew nothing of using the Light like the priests did, he could bandage and help make the injured more comfortable, even as Aerin helped rescue those that were trapped. An aftershock hit soon after, collapsing the Thunderbrew Distillery, and the Dwarves worked frantically to dig out the survivors. The rescue was going well, and the survivors were in good spirits, largely due to the jovial demeanor of Aerin and Rohan, which helped comfort the injured.

But when another aftershock hit, the distillery caved in completely, killing any who remained below ... and those that were inside trying to get them out, including Anduin's new close friend and trainer, Aerin. Rohan and the others had to drag Anduin forcibly away from the site, his mind set on rescuing those for whom there was no more hope.

A plan develops

Two days later Anduin, still grieving over the loss of Aerin, met with King Magni to discuss the tablet. King Magni had pushed the translators into overtime, and they'd come up with what they thought was a correct translation.

And here are the why and the how, to again become one with the mountain. For behold, we are earthen, of the land, and its soul is ours, its pain is ours, its heartbeat is ours. We sing its song and weep for its beauty. For who would not wish to return home? That is the why, O children of the earth.

Here is the how. Go you to the heart of the earth. Find you these herbs three: mountain silversage, black lotus, and ghost mushroom. With a finger's pinch of the soil that nourished them, consume the draft. Speak these words with true intent, and the mountain shall reply. And so it shall be that you shall become as you once were. You shall return home, and you shall become one with the mountain.

King Magni was convinced that the translation indicated any who completed the rite would be able to commune with Azeroth itself, and by doing so, the source of the instability, the floods, the droughts, the raging elements could be found and fixed. King Magni intended to complete the rite himself. His kingdom was suffering, and the Dwarves were the children of the earth more so than any other. As leader, it was his responsibility to his people to take the risk and fix what was broken, so that his people could recover from their losses and continue on.

An understanding

The ritual would take place the following morning. But Magni wasn't done with young Anduin yet. He invited the prince back for dinner that evening and had a heart-to-heart with the boy. Aerin had spoken to Magni before she died, he explained -- and Aerin knew a born warrior when she saw one. She also knew when one wasn't born to it, and Anduin definitely wasn't. But Magni also knew that Anduin had been stealing away to the Hall of Mysteries, and he gently suggested that perhaps the path of the warrior wasn't really what Anduin ought to be considering at all.

Anduin confessed that he didn't think he was cut out to be a warrior, either, but it was what his father wanted him to be. King Magni told him in no uncertain terms that there was no shame in bringing the Light's hope and healing to his people, and he gave Anduin a weapon, Fearbreaker. The mace had been passed down through generations of Bronzebeards, used to fight and used to heal, as well.

The next morning, the ceremony began as scheduled. King Magni drank the elixir and listened. Just as he began to hear thousands of voices, the voices of the earth, speaking to him all at once, the unthinkable happened. Before the horrified eyes of everyone witness to the rite, Magni's body hardened to solid crystal, forever frozen in a scream of terror. The Dwarves had lost their king. Representatives from all the Alliance races were sent to pay their respects, including Anduin's father, Jaina, Tyrande, Malfurion ... the list of figures went on. Warchief Thrall had even sent two delegates from the Horde.

Facing off

In Orgrimmar, Thrall finished the last of the administrative work that had to be completed before his departure. Everything was in order, and he'd let Eitrigg know of his decision and sent a letter to Cairne, asking for the Tauren leader's help as advisor to Garrosh in his absence. Bidding his farewell to Eitrigg, Thrall left Grommash Hold to begin his journey but was stopped not far from its entrance by another. It was Cairne.

And as far as Cairne was concerned, Thrall was making a terrible mistake -- and he'd come in person to deliver that message, in the shadow of Mannoroth's remains. The people might love Garrosh, Cairne warned, but he was too much like his father, hot-tempered, foolish and headstrong. While the people of the Horde saw the glory that Garrosh could bring, they did not see the foolishness he could bring as well.

Thrall stated that the decision had already been made, he had asked Cairne to offer his guidance in order to temper Garrosh's headstrong ways. But Cairne replied that Thrall had asked him for wisdom and common sense. And for Cairne, the wise choice was obvious -- not to put Garrosh in a place of power. That it was a mistake, and by doing so, Thrall would be turning his back on his people.

Developing in Nagrand

Thrall stiffly replied that the two had nothing more to say to each other but suggested that if Cairne was so worried about Hellscream, he should step up in the role of advisor as Thrall asked him to do -- or let the Horde pay the price for his stubborn refusal to do so. Cairne watched him leave. He would offer advice to Garrosh, of course. But he didn't expect Garrosh would take it or even bother granting Cairne the courtesy of listening when he spoke.

In Nagrand, Greatmother Geyah summoned her best student to her side. Aggra was meant to be a shaman from the moment she was born -- at least according to the Greatmother, who claimed that the elements sang the woman lullabies when she was but a babe. There was a reason for the sudden summons, however. Geyah's grandson, the Warchief Thrall was coming to seek help in healing his world, which was in a great deal of elemental distress.

And Geyah had decided that Aggra would help her "slave-named grandson," as Aggra bluntly called him. Partially because she was the most suited for the task -- but mostly because Geyah thought she'd get a great deal of amusement out of watching the two of them interact.

Needless to say, Aggra was not exactly pleased at this turn of events.

For more information on related subjects, please look at these other Know Your Lore entries:
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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