Fading Light: Why the Naaru should be evil, part 4/4


I guess it's time to acknowledge that I never did write Part 4 of this series I started EIGHT YEARS AGO, WHAT THE HELL IS TIME

The reason it never got finished was because Part 4 was always intended to be some "What if?" fiction that built on the theories and ideas put forth in the first three posts. However, the writing never reached a point where I was happy with it, so I decided to shelve it until I thought it was good enough. Which ended up being never, it seems.

There was also a lot of reaction at the time that seemed to indicate readers were thinking I was saying all of this would happen, which was a bit disheartening because that was never my objective. Unlike some of my speculation posts, with this series I only wanted to explore the narrative possibilities, like "Hey, how interesting would it be, and think of all the unexpected directions WoW's story could go, IF the Naaru pulled off a huge heel turn?" And honestly I got tired of trying to explain this to the "uhh you are WRONG this won't happen" and "this GOES AGAINST LORE!!!!!" responders so I just never revisited the series.

Anyway, while discussing current WoW lore with some friends today, it occurred to me that during Battle for Azeroth there is a scene where Anduin and Jaina discuss Taelia Fordragon, and whether or not to tell her what had truly happened with her father, Bolvar. What's interesting about this is in The Shattering novel, it was Anduin who was in Taelia's situation. The Shattering makes it very clear that at the time (just before the Cataclysm), Anduin did NOT know what had happened to Bolvar in Icecrown Citadel -- he, like the rest of the world, was under the assumption that Bolvar had died at the Wrathgate.

Now of course, as Anduin got older (or perhaps when he became king), someone filled him in on Bolvar's fate. This makes sense, though it is kinda weird that Blizzard wouldn't showcase some attention on this BOMBSHELL of a revelation for someone who had become one of the franchise's primary characters learning he'd been lied to for years about the fate of the person he loved more than anyone in the world before Varian returned...but I digress.

With Shadowlands just around the corner, I'm realizing that while I'm still following the story and lore out of curiosity, I'm still not feeling the urge to jump back in after skipping Battle for Azeroth. This weekend was even a free weekend, and though I reinstalled the game and spent a few minutes admiring the new character creation options, I never ended up logging in. And so if I'm not going to write any more lore posts on this blog, I just can't leave this one thing unfinished. Hell, the image at the top of this post is even from my original post draft, prepped and readied all those years ago.

So here's Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and finally, eight years later, Part 4 of Fading Light: Why the Naaru should be evil. Enjoy!

The story that never was

When I started this blog series, we were in the final days of Cataclysm. Mists of Pandaria was still a month away, and the current big lore reveals at the time were the Dragon Soul "Soulroics", the 5-person dungeons of End Time, Well of Eternity, and most importantly, Hour of Twilight, where Stormwind's long-standing leader of the Church of the Holy Light, Archbishop Benedictus, was revealed to be an evil traitor.

The final entry in this series was intended to be a short fiction, where Tirion is called to Stormwind to learn some terrible news -- that the Naaru have betrayed the draenei and the Alliance, and had been lying about their true allegiances for years. Velen was alive, but understandably shattered by the Naaru turning their backs on him.

Tirion is shocked and outraged at this news, of course, but he quickly realizes he must put aside personal desires for retribution and justice, at least for the moment. After all, with the Naaru gone, Velen out of commission, and Archbishop Benedictus freshly revealed to be a real asshole, has humanity's faith and trust in the Light and its representatives ever been lower? Right now, as everyone reels from their still-fresh spiritual wounds, they desperately need someone to step up to champion the Light, and give them someone to believe in again.

Tirion is not an overly arrogant man, but he knows who he is: Commander of the Argent Crusade, last surviving original member of Alonsus Faol's Knights of the Silver Hand (that the world knew of, with Turalyon presumed dead or missing), and recent hero in the war against the Lich King. Tirion would be very aware of how the world views and respects him, and that he would be the perfect person to step in and give humanity a helping hand when they need it most. With his leadership and guidance, perhaps humanity could learn to trust the Light again. And of course, Tirion's deep sense of selfless duty and responsibility would absolutely make him volunteer for the job.

But then Anduin would stop him dead in his tracks with a simple question.

"Did you lie to us about Bolvar Fordragon?"

Because during their exit from the Alliance, the Naaru passed along a message to Velen's promising little princely apprentice...that Bolvar, Anduin's beloved friend and father-figure who had watched over and protected him all those years Varian was missing, had not died at the Wrathgate as everyone believed, but instead was now trapped in eternal torment, the only thing holding back the Scourge from sweeping forth across Azeroth once more.

Suddenly, Tirion realizes that everything is falling apart around him. Even as he recognizes that he no longer has the trust of one young boy, let alone the rest of the world, he hears Bolvar's words once more -- that if the world is to live free from the tyranny of fear, they must never know what happened up there atop the Frozen Throne. But now...that secret is out.

As Tirion falters, unsure what to say, or if he should reveal that the decision to keep Bolvar's fate a secret was not a decision he made alone, he notices Varian, standing stoically and supportively beside his anguished son. And as Anduin repeats the question, shouting now, Varian looks Tirion in the eyes and gives him a silent, imploring look.

"Please shoulder this weight," that look says, desperate and pleading. "Please don't make me tell my son I lied to him about the person he cared about most in the entire world."

"Please let him hate you instead of me."

And so, Tirion being Tirion...would do this. He would accept all the blame, the distrust, the scorn. Because he realizes he can't help Stormwind regain its faith in the Light. He can't make amends to the world for the lies he has told. He can't be a new mentor, teacher, and role model for Anduin, nor help him grow into the destiny so many foresee for him. None of this is possible anymore. At least, not now.

But if he can protect a boy's love for his father...well, that he can do.

Humanity's faith in the Light is broken. Velen is broken. The prodigal son's innocence and trust in his heroes is broken.

Somewhere, the Naaru laugh.

And so Tirion leaves Stormwind, banished back to Hearthglen and the Plaguelands. And for many days afterwards, he is haunted by Anduin's furious, grieving condemnation echoing in his ears:

Now go, leave this place!
And never return.