This week my guild killed Magmaw, the first boss of Blackwing Descent, and it dropped a caster dagger. Not just any caster dagger though. No, that giant phallic worm coughed up Incineratus.
When I saw the name, I instantly cocked my head in surprise. Incineratus? As in, the exact same name as the Incineratus found at the Throne of the Elements in Nagrand? The same Incineratus who, as one of the Elemental Furies, I just finished examining while writing my previous post?
How...unusual. And SUSPICIOUS!
There's a number of things that strike me as odd about this unremarkable dagger bearing such a distinct name. First of all, the dagger itself is nothing special - it's not super rare, it sports no special flavor text, nothing. It's just like any other first-tier raid drop. So why the name duplication?
Now you may be saying, what's the big deal? After all, there's plenty of weapons named after famous personalities and characters in WoW history, right? Well, yes and no. There's many items that are named AFTER someone. And there's no shortage of weapons that apparently used to belong to someone famous, or that were modeled after someone's chosen weapons.
But there are very few weapons that have exactly the same name as someone who already exists. How few? Well, I did a quick perusal of every epic-quality weapon in the game, and looked at any whose name seemed like an actual identity and not simply a description or appropriately meaningful word.
Guess how many I found?
That item is Halion, Staff of Forgotten Love, which drops from the Lich King, and of course has the same name as the Ruby Sanctum's final boss.
There were some close seconds - Trollbane has the same name as Danath Trollbane. However, it's not his entire name, and it also doesn't make any sense since it's found in Zul'Aman, a place Danath has never (as far as we know) visited. More likely, it formerly belonged to his uncle Thoras Trollbane, the former King of Stromgarde, who was known for wielding an axe.
(Bizarrely, Trollbane is apparently a common name in WoW. Trollbanes in-game include the above-mentioned axe, Danath, Thoras' son Galen, a quest item in Zul'Drak, a Horde quest in Arathi that no longer exists, and the name of the Alliance starting base in Arathi Basin!)
There is also the Bladefist, which drops from and is a clear reference to Kargath Bladefist. However, this is entirely logical - after all, it was the act of wearing the weapon which gave Kargath that unique surname. It's not his name any more than Tirion's last name is now Ashbringer. Besides, even if the weapon's name was Kargath, there's no mystery behind it since you take it from the real Kargath's dead body.
Finally, the Lifebinder and the Black Knight share titles with Alexstrasza and the Black Knight respectively. However, these are merely titles. Alexstrasza's name is, well, Alexstrasza, and even though we don't know the Black Knight by any other name, that is obviously not his actual name but rather a rank or even merely a description.
Now, I'm not saying I carefully inspected every weapon or spent a great deal of time on this. It's very possible I missed a few. But the point is, Blizzard doesn't usually name loot the exact same name as an already-existing NPC. So this dagger from Magmaw set off all kinds of alarm bells in my head.
So what's going on? What possible connection could there be between Nefarian's wriggly pet and a powerful but distant elemental harbinger, one who's never stepped fiery foot on Azeroth? Perhaps Incineratus gave a piece of itself to Deathwing, who in turn gave it to his son Nefarian so it could serve as a conduit, a source of power, or maybe simply a weapon, and the silly younger dragon let his lava worm gobble it up. Kids today, no discipline.
But why would Incineratus give a piece of itself to Deathwing in the first place? Well, don't forget that during the Second War, Deathwing was on Draenor! We know that he was there to start messing around with his Twilight brood...but who knows what other mischief he got up to? Remember, he's quite adept at winning other beings over to his side, and I doubt the Throne of the Elements would have been guarded or protected, since neither the orcs of Garadar or the Broken of Telaar were really active and aware of Azeroth's troubles at the time.
Perhaps Deathwing paid a visit to the Furies and managed to sway them to his cause. Or maybe he only managed to convince Incineratus, since there's no evidence that any of the other Furies have any connection to him. That's not so bad, right? After all, there's no quests that Incineratus gives out, and in-game it just sits there, not interacting with anyone. I mean, the only noteworthy thing it's ever done in all of WoW history has been give Thrall a blessing in the Shattering novel.
...oh. That could be bad, I guess. But at least Thrall's only a simple racial leader and not in charge of saving the world or anything, I mean, that would be really-
Speaking of Thrall, I've actually always found Incineratus giving Thrall the "Fire of Passion" in the Shattering a little odd. First of all, Incineratus is the only Fury to give Thrall a boon or blessing. And it's not like Thrall needed the additional ambition/motivation - he was already (and always has been) incredibly driven and dedicated to his causes. It seemed out of place and unnecessary. And lastly, this strange gift is never mentioned or brought up again.
To me, it all seemed a little suspicious.
Allow me to relate a short personal anecdote. I run a D&D game, and one of my favorite tricks to convince my players that an NPC is their friend (when in reality, they may be plotting against them) is to have the NPC give a small token or present. In my current campaign, the players are all wearing magic rings bestowing some minor benefits that were gifts from a grateful city council member. What they don't know is that these rings also allow their disguised, plotting nemesis to spy on them, learn their weaknesses, and eventually, detonate them in a powerful explosion when he eventually confronts them. In real-life time, I gave them those rings THREE YEARS AGO. It's been so long, they'd never suspect the truth behind them.
Could this be the truth behind Incineratus' gift? Maybe it came not from the Fury of Fire...but from Deathwing himself? Deathwing CRAVES information, and I'm sure he'd be very keen on knowing exactly what Thrall and the Earthen Ring are up to.
There's an even darker possibility. What if the flame from Incineratus, which "settled into [Thrall] and seemed to wrap around his heart," was a seed of foul magic from Deathwing? A sinister enchantment meant to eventually blacken and corrupt the former Warchief? Stealing Thrall away and turning him to evil would be an IMMENSE victory for Deathwing, and would shatter the Earthen Ring, the Horde, and would even give a few leaders in the Alliance pause.
Of course, there is one important, pivotal question that is yet unanswered. Why would Incineratus ally itself with Deathwing? We know from the Shattering that the Elements of Draenor are separate from those of Azeroth, but at the same time, we learned from Gordawg's sampling of an Azerothian stone that they can interact and communicate.
Maybe something from Azeroth told Incineratus to cooperate? But that doesn't make any sense. Incineratus isn't just any fire elemental, it's the Fury of Fire, one of the most powerful fire elementals in existence. What possible being could there be who would have the power and incentive to order such a dark alliance?