The Story of The Red Dragonflight with Nobbel87
23/10/2022 à 17:43
With the Dragonflight pre-patch event on its way, Nobbel87 is working on a spoiler-free series that will look over the major Dragonflights. The series began with the
Story of the Black Dragonflight
. Last week, he covered the
Story of the Blue Dragonflight
. This week, the focus is on the Red Dragonflight.
Alexstrasza - Queen of the Dragons
Today, it is time that we recognize the queen, the one that rules all the dragons and, of course, her Red Dragonflight. Today, we're going to be talking about Alexstrasza.
“I bring life and hope”
She 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 came from Eonar, the Lifebinder:
“This is my gift: compassion for all living things. A drive to protect and nurture them. And the ability to heal that which others cannot, birth what others may not, and love even the unlovable--who surely need such grace more than any other souls.”
That’s right, Alexstrasza will be your mommy. Her natural gift of leadership made her the perfect candidate to be queen of all dragons, and being the Aspect of Life means exactly that. Where a Neltharion would take care of the world or a Malygos would guard the domain of magic, she would care for its life, no matter where it came from.
But interestingly enough, their powers do not just end at crosshold of the domain of Life, they know Death equally well. We’ve seen examples where fallen enemies were reanimated, their memories of life used to find hidden secrets or, perhaps, a more widely known resurrection.
There was Bolvar Fordragon, who fell at the Wrathgate. When the dragon’s fire cleansed the area of the blight, it also brought him back to life. Unsure if this was their intention or it was an accidental side effect.
Either way, they are aware that he’s charred and alive, but he is now in the hands of the Lich King - something that they kept hidden from the heroes of the world. “They must not discover the fate of the young paladin. Not yet,” the queen of the dragons told Korialstrasz, and so it was quite the shock and surprise for the Alliance and the Horde when they entered Icecrown Citadel and realized Bolvar had been tortured by the Lich King and was still very much alive.
“The dragons' flame... sealed my fate...”
Not sure why they decided to keep it a secret. Their healing powers are not without limit though as, for example, we’ve seen during the Crusader Bridenbrad questline. Not even the breath of the queen could cleanse his body that was suffering from the plague of undeath.
War of the Ancients
The domain of the Reds is that of life and to create life, there had to be a lot of mating. From an egg clutch that holds, say, thirty-six of them, only half would hatch, and only half of those would actually survive to adulthood - but that's the way of dragons – a harsh beginning heralding a life of glory and wonder. Alexstrasza had a fair few consorts for this mating, from Tyranastrasz, who was the oldest and her first, to her youngest, Korialstrasz who she added "most recently".
"Most recently" being over ten thousand years ago now, as that description comes from the time of the War of the Ancients - Back when the magical fount of power known as the Well of Eternity was being used to summon Sargeras and the Burning Legion into the world. Deathwing manipulated his fellow aspects into sacrificing a portion of their power into the Dragon Soul to stop this invasion. His madness would be revealed when he turned the Soul not only on the demons but also the night elves and his fellow dragons. Alexstrasza tried to reason with her fellow Aspect, have him fight the madness that had overtaken him and destroy the disc before it was too late. But her words could no longer reach him, his mind was too far gone. So they combined forces with the defenders of Azeroth like the night elves and eventually turned the tide of battle. Not only did that mean the defeat of Deathwing and taking the now Demon Soul out of his possession, it also prevented the Burning Legion from claiming the world, at a great price.
Thanks to Illidan Stormrage, we did see the creation of a brand new well. He had taken some vials of the original one and, knowing how the previous one had nearly lead to destruction of the world, the others weren’t too happy with what he had done. To contain and hide its power, Alexstrasza used an enchanted seed to sprout a mighty tree over the Well.
Nordrasill - it was called. Its boughs soon towered over the lake, scraping the belly of the heavens. Its roots grew deep into the earth, spreading life-giving energies across the 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. To honor this decision, the remaining Dragon Aspects agreed to bless the tree and, by extension, the night elves, so that they could perform their guardianship succesfully. The queen infused Nordrassil with renewed strength and vitality, that, in combination with immortality provided by Nozdormu meant that the night elves would stay at the dragons' side for millennia. Helping them safeguard the land and sharing these duties, the bond between elves and dragons grew ever closer. One day we’d even see Queen Alexstrasza and her sister Ysera guide the wedding ceremony between Tyrande Whisperwind and Malfurion Stormrage.
Captured by the Dragonmaw Clan
Now while the queen and the reds loved all life, there are certain lines you do not cross. Few beings are considered truly evil by her. And even they are not necessarily beyond redemption. Change is inherent in life after all. As long as something lives, it can grow. It can seek the light, or the darkness. It is only when it chooses the darkness so completely that Life itself is endangered, that the queen would say there is no hope. No hope for the entire Black Dragonflight as the actions of their lord and the corruption within had the other dragons hunt their flight to near extinction. That didn’t stop him from being a threat though, quite the opposite. Millenia later she’d find herself under attack by Deathwing again, this time indirectly.
The Aspects had hidden away the Demon Soul on Azeroth, and they cast magical protections on it, preventing any dragon from ever wielding the disc again. Magics that had no effect on the alien orcs that had come through the Dark Portal. Deathwing started to show them visions, guided them to the disc, and instructed them on how to wield it. Its terrible might forced the dragon queen into submission and by extension her whole entire flight. Now they had to do what the orcs wanted them to do. Carry them in battle against the Alliance. Cause death and destruction while their queen was forced to mate and breed with her consorts, produce more eggs - children - dragon units to add to their ranks. Deathwing could not have done worse to her. Could not have inflicted more pain to the flight of Life than by turning them into bringers of Death. Not much they could do about it though, not as long as the orcs held the soul. Yet despite the draconic might added to their ranks, the Horde still lost their war over Azeroth. They were pushed back all the way through the Dark Portal.
This pushed the remaining Dragonmaw clan into barricading themselves within Grim Batol, securing themselves as well as the red dragon queen. Even now, you can still see the place where they held her in-game, and while her flight desperately wanted to set her free, perhaps none as much as her consort Korialstrasz.
Korialstrasz & Time Travel
His queen was everything to him. It meant more than his own life and safety, which he would gladly put on the line for her sake. You might remember seeing him at the Wrathgate or at Wyrmrest Temple, but that’s pretty much it when it comes to events in the game. Not so much in the books though - he has had many adventures completely off-screen.
When the bronze dragon Nozdormu got stuck in time due to the manipulations of the Old Gods, who was it that he called for help? Korialstrasz, of course, who together with Rhonin and Broxigar was sent back ten thousand years, back to that War of the Ancients where he got to relive that terrible tragedy again. Time travel is an interesting concept which we'll definitely dive deeper into when dealing with the Bronze Dragonflight, and considering that there was already one of him there in the timeline - there was already an original who had seen the war played out - our Korialstrasz felt only half the dragon then he usually did.
Only when he was with his counterpart, when he held a scale of himself close, did he feel at full power. But his influence would still play a massive role in the war, it would change quite a bit of it - which, of course, makes you wonder how the original war had played out without him.
Now he couldn’t share what he knew about Deathwing, the bits that he actually remembered beyond the fog of time travel were unable to get past his lips. The black behemoth recognized that he knew something, and placed spells upon him to stop him from dropping spoilers. Regardless, Korialstrasz played a massive role during the war, and he saw it through with his allies, making sure that - although the details might have changed - the world still overcame the threat of the Legion. In between, he even managed to save some of the Blue Dragonflight's eggs. A clutch that was abandoned by Malygos when he fell to madness. A clutch that contained the eggs of both Arygos and his sister Kirygosa. Enough of them to survive, but not for the flight to thrive. Hiding them away in a pocket universe where time ran extremely slow. Long enough to pass them on to one he could trust... assuming that he survived the war. Which he did, but their ally Broxxigar did not. Back in his own time, Krasus disguised himself as an orc to bring back the Axe of Broxigar to Warchief Thrall, sharing with him the epic tales of glory. Honoring the orc that had sacrificed himself, stood up against the Dark Titan Sargeras himself, and saved the entire world.
That was a brilliant adventure through time with his buddy Rhonin at his side, but they weren’t always the best of friends. When he first approached the red-haired mage, disguised as Krasus, he saw the human more as a tool to be used rather than an ally. That’s how desperate Korialstrasz was to save his beloved from the orcs, because, unlike some dragons, Korialstrasz actually cared about the mortals that shared their world. He kept a close eye on them and worked subtly from the shadows to keep the world turning. Positioning himself with the Kirin Tor and the Council of Six, which provided him quite a bit of power and influence. He’d even spend some of his spare time prophecizing, predicting the day that miss Jaina Proudmoore had to become leader of the Kirin Tor - events for the future.
Aspects - Power Returned
Knowing that his Alexstrasza was imprisoned and forced to do who knows what... it pushed him to his limits. Rhonin wasn’t the only one that he recruited to his side either. At risk of his own life, he visited the other Aspects and begged them to take action. Don’t forget, at this point in time, Malygos was still quite insane. Nozdormu was all but lost in the sands of time, and while Ysera would love to help her sister out, he had no real plan which didn’t result in all of them being enslaved to the Dragon Soul as well. It all seemed terribly hopeless, but that didn’t stop our Krasus.
He was still there for his queen and so were Rhonin, Vereesa and Falstad. In the end even the other Aspects were roused out of their own problems by him, ready to fight the good fight. Not only did they manage to liberate the queen out of the hands of the orcs, the Demon Soul was also destroyed. The Aspects' powers were returned, and for the first time in millenia, Deathwing was forced to face his fellow Aspects as equals. He was going to pay for all that she had been forced to endure, the many years of torment, the death of her consort Tyranastrasz...
Only then did Alexstrasza rise before him, the terrible nemesis. She gazed at Deathwing, still in part with pity, and said, “Life is my Aspect, dark one, and I, like all mothers, know both the pain and wonder that entails! For the past several years, I have watched my children be raised as instruments of war, slaughtered if they proved insufficient or too willful! I have lived knowing that so many died that I could do nothing for!”
“Your words mean nothing to me,” Deathwing roared as he futilely struggled to shrug off the others’ horrific assaults. “
“No, they likely do not… which is why I shall let you experience firsthand all that I have suffered…”
And she did just that.
Against any other attack, even the nightmares of Ysera, Deathwing could summon some defense, but against Alexstrasza’s he had no weapon upon which to draw. She attacked with pain, but her pain. She dealt not with agony as he knew it, but with that of a loving mother who suffered with each child torn from her, with each child turned into something terrible.
With each child who perished.
“You will go through all I have gone through, dark one. Let us see if you fare any better than I did.”
But Deathwing had no experience in such suffering. It tore at him where the pain of vicious talons or ripping teeth could not, for it tore at him in his very being.
The most terrible of dragons screamed as none had ever heard a dragon scream before. That, perhaps, was all that saved him. So startled were the others by it that they faltered in their own spells. Able at last to rip free, Deathwing turned and fled, flying fast and furious.
They would try to hunt the dark one down, while also gather what remained of their flight, mourn the consorts that she had lost, recover their eggs, and rebuild their home. Rhonin, Vereesa and Falstad would forever more be friends of the red dragons, and Korialstrasz finally had his beloved back. Her time with the orcs had been gruesome. Not only would she feel the lash of the Demon Soul when she disobeyed.
The pain inflicted upon her - that was something she could deal with, but to make her comply, they also took her eggs, smashed them in front of her, and smeared the yoke of her unborn children upon her face. That kept her line. The dragon lore in Warcraft is some of the more darker, gruesome areas of the story. Even so, when years later they asked her how she felt about the orcs, she said that she has no quarrel with any race on Azeroth. That is the heart of the life-binder, capable of forgiving even the most horrific events, and offering love to all that want it.
Yet love wasn’t enough to resolve the conflicts and corruption that started so long ago. Not just Deathwing caused trouble to the world, his consort and children did as well. Their was his son Nefarian performing horrific experiments within the Blackrock Mountain. He wanted to combine the powers of the different dragonflights into one. Most of his experiments failed, but those that did come out successful were incredibly powerful. A great threat to the world, one that had to be stopped. The world was told about what was happening in the mountain - the allegiance between the Black Dragonflight and this so-called Dark Horde. Vaelastrasz offered them aid in making the Seal of Ascension, which gave them access to Upper Blackrock Spire, and there they could summon his spirit to assist them in the battle against Rend Blackhand. Inside Blackwing Lair they discovered something horrific. Vaelastrasz had tried to stop Nefarian on his own and had paid a terrible price.
Vaelastrasz yells: FLAME! DEATH! DESTRUCTION! Cower, mortals before the wrath of Lord....NO - I MUST fight this! Alexstrasza help me, I MUST fight it!
His desperate plea calls out to his queen, to his mother, and the heroes are empowered beyond their limits. Mana, energy, rage, and runic power generation was through the roof. Burning adrenaline pumped through their veins, increasing their damage done - but all this power was too much for their mortal bodies to hold. Death was inevitable if they took too long. Our heroes emerged victorious and conquered the entire mountain, stopping Nefarian and his gruesome experiments, at least for the moment.
Another Aspect that caused trouble to the world was Malygos the Blue. Around the
Wrath of the Lich King
period, when his sanity was restored, the Aspect looked around the world and found that mortals were abusing the magic that he was charged to protect. Deciding to hoard it all of the magic in his lair of the Nexus, the Aspect caused massive devestation to the world, and something had to be done. Even the dragons realised that they could not sit idly by. At Wyrmrest temple, a grand tower in Dragonblight forged by the keepers to strengthen their bond, serves as the heart of dragon culture, and a sanctuary where they could gather and discuss their activities... they came together and formed the Wyrmrest Accord. The union of dragons opposing the madness of Malygos, even the Black Dragonflight had Nalice to represent them, and Kalecgos would stand for the blues. Entering the Nexus War side by side with the mortals of the world.
One of the earlier plans of attack was together with Keristrasza. We were going to lure out the Lord of the Nexus by slaying his consort Saragosa. Then the might of the red, under the leadership of Raelorasz, could then be unleashed, but it wasn’t enough. Seeing how Keristrasza had slain his mate, Malygos decided that the red was going to replace her. Whether the tortured inflicted on her was revenge for the death of Saragosa or a misguided attempt to turn her into an ally is known only to Malygos. Regardless of his intent, by the time that we find her again within the Nexus, her sanity is all but gone and we have no other choice but to slay our ally.
Keristrasza yells: Finish it! Finish it! Kill me or I swear by the Dragonqueen you'll never see daylight again!
And so we do, ending the suffering of our comrade, and eventually, with the aid of the Wyrmrest Accord, we even brought Malygos low.
Malygos yells: Unthinkable! The mortals will destroy... everything. My sister, what have you...
Alexstrasza yells: I did what I had to, brother. You gave me no alternative.
Alexstrasza yells: And so ends the Nexus War.
Alexstrasza yells: This resolution pains me deeply, but the destruction, the monumental loss of life had to end. Regardless of Malygos’ recent transgressions, I will mourn his loss. He was once a guardian, a protector. This day one of the world's mightiest has fallen.
as we discussed last week
, caused quite a rift amongst the Blue Dragonflight. Some of them agreed with their queen and the Wyrmrest Accord, while others were more on the side of their lord Malygos. A rift that became all the more clear when it was time to pick a new leader. The blues would go for Kalecgos as their new Aspect, while Arygos had secretly allied himself to Deathwing.
His blood would animate Nefarian’s successful creation known as Chromatus. A massive five-headed dragon that Thrall and the Aspects took on in the novel Twilight of the Aspects. Their combined might was able to stop Chromatus, but the beast was so powerful that they couldn’t simply destroy it - instead, it was locked away within an arcane prison where it remains even to this day.
But that wasn’t the only threat actively working against the flights at the time. In essence, the book had Thrall go around teaching the Aspects how to be Aspects again, while Deathwing and his forces did everything they could to remove the flights from their board. One of their schemes had them infiltrate the hatcheries down below Wyrmrest Temple. You might recall raiding there near the end of
Wrath of the Lich King
as we went into the
. Heroes were asked to enter the Obsidian Sanctum, the sanctum of the Black Dragonflight, and in there, they took care of its guardians, as Alexstrasza’s children had located a clutch of Twilight dragon eggs - which was, of course, a great threat to the world. These Twilight dragons are a creation of Sintharia by experimenting and pushing forward with the Netherwing dragons.
The team-up of Korialstrasz and Kalecgos had already saved the day before as they dealt with Anveena and the hidden powers of the Sunwell. Their second adventure together saw the demise of Sintharia within the novel
Night of the Dragon
, but her experimentation was picked up by the mastermind Deathwing and pushed forward as we can see in the sanctum.
Then we saw them strike out at the Ruby Sanctum, the domain of the reds, and once more heroes ventured inside to slay those that dared to come for the eggs. The other flights also hold their young here - sadly those portals have never been made active, but the breeding grounds would be a target once more, and this time there was no time for mortal heroes to rise up.
The attack came swiftly and sillently. The Twilight Hammer corrupted the unborn children while they still slumbered within their eggs. Not just the red, but all sanctums had been infiltrated and corrupted. The only one who saw the attack was Korialstrasz and while he managed to slay the attackers, there was nothing he could do to reverse the damage. All their children would hatch as deformed Chromatic dragons, and the corruption was already spreading to his own body as well. With his beloved queen on his mind, the one who had always come first for him, he gathered up all his energy and magic, folding it in on himself. He took a deep, steadying breath and whispered a single word: Beloved. And then it went dark, detonating and destroying all of their sanctums... All of the corrupted children instantly wiped out. A great tragedy, but the alternative - seeing them come back as Chromatic dragons - would have been much worse. The other dragons had no idea what went down, of course. Some even started to whisper that Korialstrasz had betrayed them. Doubt crept even into the Lifebinder's heart, and the depression that followed nearly took out her and the Wyrmrest Accord. It was thanks to Thrall that she was shared a vision by the Spirit of Life. A vision that revealed the truth to her, that Korialstrasz, to the bitter end, had always been the best of them. How could she have doubted him, even for a moment.
Alexstrasza says: It pains me, Neltharion - but I must end you, as I have ended Malygos.
Deathwing says: "End" me? Lifebinder, you think life is yours to take away?
Deathwing says: Life is weak, mortal, fleeting ... fragile.
Deathwing says: Death is final. Death is eternal. Death is ... my realm.
Deathwing says: Look upon me and you see death incarnate, the unmaker of worlds.
Alexstrasza says: I see the hollow metal shell of a once great ally, and the precious gift of the Titans wasted.
Deathwing says: Then witness my new gifts, bestowed by this world's true masters.
She had a one-on-one with him within the Twilight Highlands, where she nearly sacrificed it all to bring the behemoth down. Assisting her in this confrontation was her son Caelestrasz. He was part of the dragon crew that sacrificed themselves during the War of the Shifting Sands in order to contain the threat of the Old God within Ahn’Qiraj. Heroes reforged the Scepter and broke down the Scarab Wall during Classic, releasing the three dragons trapped inside. After witnessing his mother's fight with Deathwing here, the only other time that we would see him would be in the Bastion of Twilight where he joined heroes in confronting the resurrected Sinestra and her Twilight dragon brood.
Calen yells: Sintharia! Your master owes me a great debt... one that I intend to extract from his consort's hide!
Laying down his life to empower the heroes. and give them the chance to bring Sinestra low.
Sinestra yells: You should feel honored to be worthy of its expenditure. Now... die!
Calen yells: The fires dim, champions.... Take this, the last of my power. Succeed where I have failed. Avenge me. Avenge the world....
The confrontation between his mother and Deathwing would not be the last, their fight wasn’t going to end that easily. This was going to take everything that the world of Azeroth and the dragons had to throw at him. Some of them even decided to cross some lines, like Rheastrasza in the Badlands. She has taken Nyxondra captive and just like the orcs had treated their queen, Rhea was forcing Nyxondra to lay eggs for their experiments. To create something that the world hasn’t seen in millenia: an uncorrupted black dragon - Wrathion - and with our aid and a bit of Titanic magic, their experiments succeed.
Deathwing catches wind of what we were doing here, and decimates Rheastrasza and the eggs, or so he believes. He actually only destroyed her eggs, the last one given to us to take care of. Meanwhile, Wrathion is already far away, even hatches and becomes the very thing the red dragonflight wanted him to be. He was a true guardian of Azeroth, an uncorrupted black dragon, but one who wasn’t down with being controlled by the reds. He would draw his own plans for the salvation of the world while heroes took the battle to Deathwing at the Wyrmrest Temple.
End of Deathwing and the Age of Dragons
Through time they ventured to grab the Dragon Soul from the past - empower it with the might of the Aspects, former Warchief Thrall subjugating as the Aspect of Earth. While the forces of the Wyrmrest Accord, led by Lord Devrestrasz, occupied the temple, mortals and dragons stood shoulder to shoulder at the Maelstrom.
Their combined might blasted Deathwing with everything they had, and finally, the Cataclysm was over. Not without great sacrifice though. Not only had the Aspects give up a huge portion of their power. Not only did they have to see the world through mortal eyes now. On top of all that, they could also no longer reproduce. No more whelplings for any of them, a harsh reward from the Titans, especially for the Aspect of Life.
All the harsher when the Death Knights during legion ventured into the Ruby Sanctum and were offered a choice by the Lich King. They could just go in and find the answers they were looking for, do what they had to do to get their mount, or they could embrace their inner darkness and wipe out anything in sight, earning themselves the Unholy Determination feat of strength.
The Lich King says: You are empty inside, just like me.
By now Blizzard has decided to remove that achievement, but the Red Flight still doesn’t look kindly upon them for resurrecting Kyrananastrasz into undeath and into their personal mounts. Those actions are not quickly forgiven or forgotten. And they also changed their mind when it comes to the whole reproduction thing.
In an interview back in 2017 with Ion Hazzikostas, Jesse Cox and WoWcrendor, they already discussed that it was never their intention to slam the door on dragon lore. It was going to take some building up, but they were going to be able to reproduce again and given more story in the future. Considering that we’re now looking at Dragonflight on the horizon, it seems that the time has come to further that story.
Empowering the Heart of Azeroth
That is what is to come. Going back to the end of the Cataclysm and the dawn of the Age of Mortals, the dragons wondered what their purpose and role was going to be in this new world. The Aspects gathered and made plans to disband the Wyrmrest Accord. Each go their own way and find their own destiny in life, but Kalecgos wasn’t going to let that happen. They might have lost a lot, but they had value and purpose even before being empowered by the Titans. They would have value and purpose in this new age as well. The domain of life and the world as a whole would also need the gentle heart of Alexstrasza and her flight.
Azeroth needed them, especially when the Old God N’zoth was released from its prison during
Battle for Azeroth
. At the Vermillion Redoubt we saw Alexstrasza under attack by Vexiona and her brood, a Void-infused Twilight dragon, but our efforts saved the day and the dragons' powers were imbued into our heart of Azeroth.
Alexstrasza the Life-Binder says: Long has my flight protected all life on Azeroth. And so shall we continue for as long as we draw breath.
Alexstrasza the Life-Binder says: Accept this gift. May it light a flame within you, to burn bright through the darkest times.
And so it did, straight through the darkness of Nyalotha and the Old God N’zoth, cleansing the world of its Old God infection.
Ysera - a Love Everlasting
The last time we saw Alexstrasza in the story, and the last thing that I want to mention about the Red Dragonflight... that was to aid her sister Ysera within the Shadowlands. She was in need of a token of lost love and she knew none to love more and stronger then her sister Alexstrasza. She was expecting a token in relation to her consort Korialstrasz, but instead we got a toy gifted to her while they were still proto-dragons. While her love for her consort is everlasting, she had never loved anyone more than Ysera.
Alexstrazsa says: And Champion... please tell my sister that she is sorely missed, fondly rememberd, and deeply loved.
Ysera and the Green Dragonflight... that will be our story for next week.
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