The Story of the Green Dragonflight with Nobbel87
With the Dragonflight pre-patch event on its way, Nobbel87 is working on a spoiler-free series that will look over the major Dragonflights. He's already covered the
, and the
. This week, the focus is on the Green Dragonflight.
Ysera, the Green Dragon Aspect
Ysera was empowered by the keepers and the Titans after the - at the time proto-dragons - banded together to end the threat of Galakrond. Her blessing, like that of Alexstrasza came from Eonar, the Lifebinder:
You are bound to the waking Dream of Creation. Nature is your realm, and all things have caught glimpses of the Emerald Dream when they sleep. You see them all, Ysera. And they see you, though they may not know it. Like the Life-Binder, you touch all living beings, and sing to them the songs of creation and interconnectedness.
The Emerald Dream
Her flight's domain would be that of nature which comes with its very own realm called the Emerald Dream. The place is really interesting, and even though we have adventured through it a bit now, it’s still a little bit vague on what it’s all about.
Even its origin, even its creation is still uncertain. Some believe that it was Keeper Freya who wove the Emerald Dream into being from nothing. Others claim that this strange place had always existed in some form, perhaps a dream born from Azeroth’s slumbering world-soul. Freya merely tapped into that, opened up pathways into this realm and molded what would become known as the Emerald Dream as a way to commune with the nascent Titan.
Personally I’d say that there’s more to support the idea that the realm always existed, although probably not as just a dream for the slumbering world soul, and that our Freya tapped into it. She started molding it, making a stronger connection between the Emerald Dream and Azeroth as a whole.
This ethereal realm of spirits and untamed nature which exists alongside the world of Azeroth, shaped to act as a map for the evolutionary path of Azeroth’s flora and fauna. The two realms are bound as one: as life ebbs and flows across the physical world, the spiritual energies that saturate the Emerald Dream keep pace with it. It’s been described as the blueprint for Azeroth, the way the world would look like if it was completely free to grow without other influences.
Although tied to the physical world, the Emerald Dream is a place that most mortal minds would find alien and surreal. But some of those minds, by channeling druidic magic, can enter a state of dreaming and consciously navigate the Emerald Dream - use it almost as if Azeroth has multiple layers and within the dream you can dive deeper through those layers - a neat trick that was once used by Malfurion Stormrage to disable magics and fight against his foes.
Their thoughts can also shape and influence portions of this verdant spirit realm, but the imprint that these dreamers leave behind is never permanent. In the dreamways, time and distance are mutable. A day on the physical world could feel like decades in the dream.
The Rift of Aln is a small corner of the Emerald Dream, but a vast deep fissure which is believed to be where the magical realm itself originated. Legends say that Freya’s shaping of the realm began with G’Hanir, the mother tree. There’s also Daral’nir, another great tree where the druids of the pack were left behind to slumber only to be summoned back unto Azeroth and start spreading the worgen curse. Then we got the Eye of Ysera, basically the green dragons' main base of operations. Seeing how she was bound to this ethereal realm, Ysera descended into an endless trance and became known thereafter as the Dreamer.
With the Shadowlands, we learned a bit more about the inner workings of the Emerald Dream, which is why I would say that there’s more to the idea of the realm always existing and Freya just tapped into it.
Connection to Ardenweald
Not only is the Emerald Dream connected to Azeroth, it’s also connected to Ardenweald, a domain within the Shadowlands where there’s this whole big cycle of life and death, death and rebirth. Where Ardenweald would be described as autumn and winter in a lifecycle, the Dream represents the spring and summer.
So say that a being dies and is sent off to Ardenweald, they’ll spend their time slumbering and recovering, being infused with Anima. Once the time is right, and once they so desire, they could return.
A prime example of this is what happened with the demi-god Cenarius. A Wild God that we know on Azeroth, and Wild Gods have their connection to the Dream once again thanks to Freya.
Now, you might remember how Cenarius was slain in
. His spirit then zipped out to Ardenweald where he recovered. He then returned to the Dream to be summoned unto Azeroth again with the Cataclysm. The domain of Ardenweald is run by the Winterqueen, and her sister is the Goddess Elune. Its uncertain if they mean sisters in blood, or sisters by the same method of creation, or merely sisters in spirit, forever connected in a sacred cycle. Regardless, her sister is Elune, the goddess of not just the night elves, but more races within the Warcraft universe.
Which makes you wonder, that if Elune is the representation of Life, is connected through the Emerald Dream and worshipped by more races than just the ones on Azeroth... could that also mean that the Emerald Dream is connected to more worlds than just Azeroth itself?
Who knows, but what is kinda cool is that this connection between the Emerald Dream, Elune, and Ysera is not entirely out of the blue. There’s always been a connection between them through their family situation.
Once upon a time legends say that Elune, in whatever form you can imagine, had a child with the Malorne - that child is Cenarius, whose mother is now Elune, as you know, while his stepmother is Ysera.
Which is why she was so devastated when, during the War of the Ancients, Malorne entered battle to protect his son and fought one-on-one with Archimonde. A terible crack echoed across the battlefield as the overlord of the Legion’s forces snapped Malorne’s neck. Vines started to creep around Archimonde. Malfurion Stormrage, not wanting to fail his shan’do - not wanting to fail his teacher - unleashed a small portion of his terrible potential... but Archimonde merely brought his hands together and vanished in a blaze of green flame.
Still, forcing Archimonde to retreat from the battlefield was no small feat. Stormrage would prove to be an exceptionally gifted druid, learning to walk the dream under the guidance of his teacher Cenarius. This skill had already allowed him to infiltrate Azshara’s palace and find out what the queen and her advisor Xavius were up too. At the time, unbeknowst to the rest of their kind, they had made contact with Sargeras and the Legion, and they wanted the Dark Titan to visit the world. Malfurion did his best to close the portal and stop the war from ever starting - taking on Xavius and using the powers of nature to destroy him.
But being so close to the gateway meant that the advisor's spirit was taken by Sargeras, who stripped away his parts until only that which once had pleased him remained. Transformed into the first of the satyrs, Xavius was send back with a score to settle. While transforming more of their kind into satyrs and progressing the invasion of the Legion, he also set his eyes on hurting Malfurion - remove the druid from play by kidnapping his beloved Tyrande Whisperwind. Bad move on Xavius’ part as Malfurion did not just kill him for kidnapping Tyrande, he turned him into a tree: trapped and fully aware of everything that was happening around him, even feeling the pain of the world itself.
Tyrande would later be saved and the world of Azeroth would unite with the dragons to stop the Legion's invasion. With the power to grant their foes' nightmares, the Greens were extremely powerful on the battlefield. In the end they managed to claim victory, but at a great price. The world of Azeroth sundered apart, and Xavius the tree would sink down below and come in contact with some very old friends.
Deal? I like deals.
Blessing of Nordrassil
Malfurion’s twin brother Illidan provided them with a new Well of Eternity. An action that they couldn’t appreciate considering the war and devestation that they just had experienced over the original Well. Nordrassil's boughs soon towered over the lake, scraping the belly of the heavens. Its roots grew deep into the earth, spreading life-giving energies across this war-torn world.
Thereafter, the great tree would act as a seal over the new Well of Eternity, preventing the Legion or anyone else from abusing its powers. The night elves vowed to keep it safe and protect the Well of Eternity at any cost. Mortals and Dragons working side by side for ages to come. There were even epic Dragonriders blessed by Ysera herself to ride her brood into battle - that is until Deathwing caught wind of this and has his lieutenant Razormaw murder them all.
To honor the elves' decision to stand with them, the remaining Dragon Aspects agreed to bless the World Tree and the night elves so that they could perform their guardianship succesfully.
Beginning of the Emerald Nightmare
Ysera’s blessing offered them easier access into the Dream, as from this point on, more of Malfurion's kind would follow him on the road of druidship, guiding and helping the restoration and growth of the world. An important task, but this did mean long periods of time slumbering and walking the dream, which left the other elves to take care of the physical world.
A world that houses the threat of the Old Gods locked away ages ago by the Titans. These newly trained druids, Fendral Staghelm to be more precise, would also be responsible for giving them entry into the Dream and become the main threat that Ysera and her kind had to deal with: the so-called Emerald Nightmare.
Up in the cold land of Northrend, we find Ulduar and the prison of Yogg-Saron. The world sundering after the War of the Ancients had weakened the Old Gods' prison, and its corruption was popping up across Northrend’s surface in the form of saronite, sapping the life of the native flora and fauna. Fandral and a few druids figured that since Nordrassil had helped heal the lands around Mount Hyjal, the same could be done to fix this corruption in Northrend. Some of his colleagues advised him to seek the guidance of the Aspects first, after all, it was their blessing that had let Nordrassil do its thing, but Staghalm wouldn’t wait.
Rather than waste time in endless debates, he took six enchanted branches from the boughs of Nordrassil and went to work. The branches quickly took root and became new trees, Together, they acted like conduits, channeling the powers of the Emerald Dream into the waking world, which strengthened the nearby wildlife, and scoured the saronite deposits. Things were actually looking great. They planted their last and greatest branch in the mountains of Northrend over the largest growth of Saronite.
This new world tree, they named Andrassil, and it grew with astonishing speed - the benefits were almost immediate. The spread of the saronite ceased, and wildlife flourished anew. Malfurion and their Cenarion Circle were pissed at Fandral, but the plan seemingly had worked. For several decades, Andrassil grew bigger and bigger, towering over Northrend, its roots going ever deeper until they reached Yogg-Saron’s subterranean prison. The Old God infused the tree with its foul energies, and so all living creatures in the area were slowly being driven to madness. Once they found out, the druids knew that there was no saving the tree anymore. All they could do was destroy it, but the damage was already done.
Unbeknownst to all of them, the smallest seed of corruption had taken root within the Emerald Dream. Yogg-Saron had used the trees planted by Fandral as a gateway through which the other Old Gods could also grasp the ethereal domain. In time, these seeds polluted the Dreamways which marked the beginning of what would become known as the Emerald Nightmare.
Yogg-Saron yells: The end of days is finally upon you and ALL who inhabit this miserable little seedling.
The Sunken Temple
Over the years, the influence of the Nightmare would grow. What started with Yogg-Saron was then picked up by N’zoth, who had made himself a new friend, Xavius the tree. He had survived the destruction of the world - the pain of the sundering coursing through him. While part of him was in the phsyical world, rooted as a tree, another part was within the Emerald Dream, spreading the Nightmare's influence as the Nightmare Lord, and we saw hints of this foul darkness already seeping through.
Back at the Sunken Temple you might recall fighting against several green dragons. More then a thousand years ago, Ysera and her flight had showed up at the temple when the fanatic Atal’ai trolls had tried to summon the dark Loa Hakkar into the world. To stop them, they turned their temple into the Sunken temple, and Ysera left behind guards, amongst them her consort Eranikus, to make sure it would never again be used for evil. That’s when the effects of the nightmare started to kick in.
Descendants of the Atal’ai trolls returned to the temple and found that its guardians were disoriented and vulnerable. Both the nightmare and the trolls dragged the dragons down into the depths of madness and corruption.
Now in firm control of the temple, the Atal’ai began their gruesome rituals to sumon Hakkar into the world again. The green dragon Itharius figured out what was happening at the temple. He summoned the aid of the Cenarion Circle. Heroes of the Alliance were asked to go in, and cleansed the temple, grabbing themselves the chained essence of Eranikus. This trinket was kinda awesome as it would produce a poison cloud around you, but even better, it would also torture the soul of Eranikus, who would beg you to stop this torment - bring him to his ally Itharius within the swamp of sorrows. You could choose to go through the questline to set his spirit free, or you could keep the trinket on you and keep the torture going.
The Dragons of Nightmare
Either way, lorewise Eranikus would play his part in the scepter of the shifting sands questline. Heroes wanted to remove the wall surrounding Ahn’Qiraj to take care of the Old God C’thun. For this, they were going to need several shards found amongst the different dragonflights. Eranikus was summoned, still under the control of the Old Gods. We’re able to subdue him, to which Tyrande and the priestesses call upon the powers of Elune to redeem the cursed dragon, and they restore his mind. Sadly, the nightmare would still claim him in the future as Eranikus sacrificed himself to save his beloved queen, and of course, he wasn’t the only corrupted green dragon that would walk on the surface of Azeroth.
Driven mad, these world bosses, these so-called Dragons of Nightmare, murdered innocents by the hundreds, indiscriminately targeting whatever living creatures were nearby. The cenarion circle’s members were mournful but resolute. There was no alternative but to slay the victims of the nightmare, yet the green dragons' souls do enjoy a similar connection to the Dream as we've seen with the Wild Gods.
That’s why Lethon came back to be slain during the War against the Nightmare within the novel
. Emeris was also killed in that same war, accidentally though, as Tyrande tried to cleanse his corruption only to find there was nothing left.
Taerar would be killed by adventurers who had the support of Ysondre, our last dragon of Nightmare. She was actually able to set herself completely free of the Nightmare, now living with a healthy fear of falling back into its clutches. Within Feralas we teamed up to take care of Taerar, to which all she really wanted was a peaceful life amongst mortals for the rest of her days. Sadly that wouldn’t be her fate, as in
, all four of them would be fighting for the Nightmare once again.
Malfurion Stormrage yells: Oh Ysondre! How cruel fate can be!
That’s the reason why we spend a whole lot of time talking about the Emerald Dream and the Nightmare, because it has had some major effects on the stories of the green dragons. Xavius the Nightmare Lord had not forgotten or forgiven, he would only grow stronger over the years. Moving his pawns in such a way so that he could fulfill his Old God masters' wishes, but also claim sweet revenge upon Malfurion Stormrage, corrupting the very home of the night elves, and some of their most trusted members...
I’ve mentioned the War of the Shifting Sands a couple of times now as some important dragons sacrificed themselves to contain the threat of the Old God C’thun. For the Greens, it was Merithra, daughter of Ysera, that took up residence inside when the wall came up, but they weren't the only ones giving up their lives. The elves, led by Fandral Staghelm, gave everything they had on the desert sands. The war was going strong with him leading the charge, something that the enemy knew all too well. That's why they set their sights on his son, Valstann - they executed him, ripped him apart in front of his father's eyes. Despite ultimately winning the war, and setting up that whole scarab wall, Fandrall was shattered - wanted nothing to do with any of them. and, in turn, shattered the scepter of the shifting sands.
This grief over the loss of his son would leave him vulnerable to Xavius’ corruption. Through the images of his child, the Nightmare Lord whispered, corrupted, manipulated, until the world tree Teldrassil was under his corruption, and his arch-enemy Malfurion kept within a coma, locked up within the Dream. Working until all the pieces were just right to unleash the full might of the Nightmare upon Azeroth.
This happened somewhat before the Cataclysm time period - all across the world, people slumbered with horrific nightmares, unable to wake up. Even Ysera was captured, adding her powers to the nightmare. All seemed lost was it not for the unity of Tyrande and Malfurion. They led the war against Xavius, led a freaking dream army against his dream form, while also assaulting the physical tree on the world. Teldrassil was fully cleansed and their relentless assaults pushed the effects of the Nightmare back all the way to the Rift of Aln where Malfurion could push it back no further. A threat for another day, they decided, going back home and after millennia, finally deciding to get married - Ysera and Alexstrasza decided to bless their new home of Teldrassil, and also guided their wedding.
Not only did Malfurion awaken from the Dream, Ysera also went from the Dreamer to the Awakened as well, but the transition from spending so long in the Dream to now being in the waking world was quite difficult. During her dreams, she had seen visions, but it was incredibly difficult to tell what was truth and what was fantasy. What she could sense, deep down, was something related to the Hour of Twilight and that former Warchief Thrall - he was going to play a critical role in what was to come. She pushed him on a quest which started with an extremely simple task - one that he had almost refused was it not asked by a Dragon Aspect herself. Unbeknownst to all was that the journey which started with the smallest of steps would lead to Thrall uniting and strengthening the other Aspects. He would stand with them as a surrogate Earth Warder in the war against Deathwing and N’zoth.
Ysera says: Friends, We have gathered here today to heal this world that we've sacrificed so much to save.
Ysera says: For the first time, the Earthen Ring and the Cenarion Circle will unite - to restore this great Tree - thereby healing the whole of Azeroth.
Nozdormu says: Time is precious, sister. Let us see to our ritual...
To strengthen their efforts, and the world, they came together to perform a ritual which would heal and re-empower Nordrassil. The meeting got interrupted by Fandral and the now druids of the flame. After the events with Xavius, they locked Fandral away, but we accidentally helped the green dragon Alysra set him free. In our defense, we had no idea that she had joined team Ragnaros and would be transformed into the fire hawk Alysrazor. Being team Ragnaros also means being team Deathwing, and knowing that Thrall could be a great threat to their plans, they split him up into the different elements, scattering him across the elemental planes. While the Aspects were quick to give up, his mate Aggra did not, and she brought him back. Another wedding was held, and while we wouldn't see it in-game, they did finish the whole healing ritual.
Then it was time to prepare for the battle against Deathwing himself. A brilliant plan in which they would grab the Dragon Soul from a different time period. They empowered it and stood united against the Mad Aspect. What none had dared to dream of actually came true. The corrupted Black Dragon Aspect was defeated, and the Old Gods' plans of breaking out of their prison, the Hour of Twilight, was stopped. At a great price, as the Aspects sacrificed a huge chunck of their powers and now viewed the world through mortal eyes.
Ysera's Corruption and Death
Not too worry though, Ysera had spend years creating an army of mortals that could help her out with safeguarding nature and the Emerald Dream. They had even created somewhat of an echo of that domain right here on Azeroth. Val'sharah, it’s called, yet during Legion we’d soon enough find out that the corruption of the Old Gods was not entirely gone. What had started with Yogg-Saron all those years ago was growing and spreading like a rot seeping out of the land. They had known that the Nightmare was only pushed back, and now it had come back with a vengeance. Heroes ventured theough the zone, slowly but surely uncovering the corruption. Even the demi-god Cenarius is claimed by it, something that pushes Malfurion over the edge. Seeing his mentor suffer and fall has him rush off right into the trap of Xavius. We join Ysera in trying to save him, exactly as Xavius had planned.
The corrupted Tear of Elune is shot right into her dragon heart. Unable to control herself, she lashes out against the world she had spent her whole life trying to defend. We had no other choice but to end her suffering, end the mortal Aspect, and send her off into the Shadowlands.
Ysera says: Do what you must, dear friend. It is the only way.
Back on Azeroth, we still had the Nightmare Lord to deal with. Into the corrupted tree Shaladrassil we went, slaying its guardian Nythendra, the corruption of Ill’gynoth, all the poor victims who had been claimed by the Nightmare and now unwillingly had to fight against us. This is where we see Ysondre and those Dragons of Nightmare again. All were slain just to get to the source of it all: Xavius at the Rift of Aln. The dream of Ysera fills our hearts and minds, giving us the chance to face the ultimate corruption. When all is said and done, the Nightmare Lord is finally slain, and the effects of the Nightmare seem to have been fully dealt with... except for one small little thing... Ysera guides us to it, in a cave, where we find the Remnant of the Void.
Xal'atath whispers: Almost completely gone, as if it never existed. But the rift is deep and vast, and somewhere down there it stirs. Something has changed, the last prison weakens. We must prepare.
Prepare to face off against the Old God N’zoth, liberated from its prison during
Battle for Azeroth
Merithra of the Green Dragonflight
With Ysera gone, the Green Dragonflight is not only greatly depowered, they’re now also missing a leader. Its her daughter Merithra of the Dream that tries to step up to the plate, but filling her mom's shoes doesn't come easy. Not to mention that, despite not directly having to deal with the Nightmare, that doesnt mean that the Void in general is gone. We see that, while empowering our Heart of Azeroth, as we assist Merithra and the Greens with keeping their Dreamways clean. Some familiar names show up here, like Lord Iltharius, but also Valithria Dreamwalker - a green dragon that almost randomly showed up as an encounter during the icecrown citadel raid. Instead of fighting her as a boss, her encounter was more about holding off waves of adds while restoring her strength. She is the one that provided us with a Pulsing Life Crystal, which in turn gave us a chance to recover as much of the Sindragosa as we could, and we brought her spirit back to Kalecgos within Dragonblight.
Dragon lore - I'm telling you, it’s all connected. Now after helping them regain control here, she calls upon the others to help her with empowering their dragonscale. No longer will the greens hide in dreams, their feet are firmly on the ground as their might gave us the chance to end N’Zoth and cleanse the world of Azeroth from its Old God infection.
Merithra of the Dream says: Though we have suffered great losses, the green dragonflight remains steadfast in our duty to Azeroth.
Merithra of the Dream says: May this gift honor the memories of those who came before us.
Ysera in Ardenweald
And that’s pretty much where the Green Dragonflight is at right now, with Merithra in charge and Ysera in the Shadowlands. We too would journey into the afterlife, chasing down Sylvanas and the threat of the Jailer. Our journey took us to the other side, to Ardenweald, where we introduced ourselves to the Winterqueen and took care of a very special seed, the one that contains Ysera’s spirit.
The darkness that was assaulting the Shadowlands made it so that Ardenweald was weakened. From Thros, the Blightedlands, which we now know is actually part of the Emerald Dream turned Emerald Nightmare, the Drustvar tried to claim the Winterqueen’s domain. They soon realised how foolish it was to test her power against her, but still... they were going to need anima, and there wasn’t enough to keep all of their groves and all of their seeds going. Already they had made terrible sacrifices for the good of the grove - letting spirits go like the demi-god Ursoc. What was one more seed to be sacrificed?
Winter Queen: Why should I save her pet?
Lady Moonberry: Those who have dreamed by its side awaken with a joy and peace that whispers of wonder.
Lady Moonberry: If she dies, then all that is emerald dies with her.
Ara'lon: Some must be sacrificed. But some must be saved.
Ara'lon: If we forget that, all that will remain will be empty shells and sorrow.
We’re able to change her mind, and by using a portion of her own essence, the winter queen binds her sister's pet, Ysera, to her realm. The beautiful Green Aspect is a great ally, defending their domain, and helping Tyrande with her Night Warrior problem.
Ysera says: I know of a place it can be protected, but... it has been so long...
Ysera says: Bring the seed to my daughter. Merithra will know where it should be taken.
Shandris Feathermoon says: Are you not returning to Azeroth with us? Surely the Winter Queen will allow you to--
Ysera says: When the queen used her own essence to revive me from the wildseed, it bound my soul to this realm.
Ysera says: I cannot leave it. Not without great sacrifice.
Tyrande Whisperwind says: Then tell us the price, and it shall be paid.
Ysera says: No, my friends. The kaldorei need you beside them once more.
Ysera says: If Elune wills it, I shall soar through Azeroth's skies again... one day.
If Elune wills it, she might fly the skies of Azeroth again, but for now, this is where she's going to remain while her daughter Marithra leads their flight into the new age, into the Dragon Isles.
Alexstrasza says: We were sisters. The only two of our brood to survive. Inseparable ever since birth.
Alexstrasza says: Some believed that as the smallest among us, she was also the weakest. They were wrong.
Alexstrasza says: Ysera was strong in a way most could not understand. But hers was a strength on which Azeroth depended.
Merithra of the Dream says: I do not know if I possess such strength. Or if I can fulfill the task that lies ahead of me.
Alexstrasza says: Neither did she. None of the Aspects did. But we rose to the challenge, as will you. Have faith in yourself, Merithra.
Merithra of the Dream says: Thank you, Alexstrasza. I will do my best to live up to my mother's legacy.
Time is going to tell if they will developer Marithra’s character or if her mother is going to come back.
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