Speculation: Sylvanas and the treasure she seeks in Helheim
NOTE: Unless you are alright with spoilers, you should probably stop reading past this notice.
As someone who loves to read the Warcraft lore , there were a couple of things Sylvanas said before the Maw of Nashal scenario that made me wonder what Blizzard Entertainment’s plans are not only for Warchief Sylvanas and the Horde, but for Azeroth as a whole if that plan is implemented.
To share that “itch of curiosity” and thus feel what I do check out these two comments — which you can find in our Stormheim Quests Videos archive under the quest titled: Making the Rounds.
Lady Sylvanas Windrunner: Are you familiar with vrykul? Towering, brutish warriors from an ancient stock. Subtlety is not a value they hold in high regard. Their legends speak of the Aegis of Aggramar. To claim it, one must undergo some kind of trial. One must be… worthy. I trust you are more than capable of handling whatever trials stand between you and the Aegis. Truthfully, Stormheim holds another treasure. One that I will be pursuing by my own means.
What treasure is so important that Sylvanas won’t need our help or that of anyone of her most trusted? After the Maw of Nashal scenario, Nathanos Blightcaller is very concerned about her fate. Sylvanas has gone missing. A few quests in, in Windrunner’s Fate, we learn that at least she survived the Alliance’s assault — but she’s still missing. It was evident she wants to take care of this alone at any cost.
Over 60 quests later, one finally finds where Sylvanas has been at since her disappearance. Though, the quest is broken in World of Warcraft: Legion Alpha, I managed to get past the deadly giant dog blocking the bridge in Helheim, and to my surprise I found Sylvanas there.
The portal to Helheim is located at Haustvald in Stormheim. More specific than that, beneath the platform where you find the Queen of the Val’kyr. There is a long stairway leading beneath that platform, and though not visible from afar, there is a dungeon portal at the end. (map below)
Helheim is an approximate equivalent to the Molten Front in that it is accessible through a portal and all players can enter anytime and interact with each other within. It’s also about the same size as Molten Front.
Back on topic, why is it so important for Sylvanas to speak with Helya? I don’t have the answer, as the quest wasn’t available to me. However, the second comment Sylvanas said before the Maw of Nashal scenario might shed some light in that direction:
Sylvanas Windrunner: Nathanos has been helping me train a new generation of rangers. They represent both our past, and our future. I think often about our future, hero. My people cannot reproduce. Are we not destined, then, to wither away eventually? No. The Forsaken will never stop fighting. Not while I reign. Not when there are still beings out there with the power to stop death.
That on itself, might mean Sylvanas seeks audience with Helya to bargain a deal in which the Forsaken has a future. A myriad of questions may come to mind. The question is how? The question is … what will be the price to pay in exchange? The question is… should the Horde be worried? Should the Alliance? Or both factions?
Those are not the only questions to ponder, however. Right after Arthas’ demise, Sylvanas suicided in Icecrown — as said in the Short Story by Dave Kosak, Edge of Night. Her soul was in a dark place where she saw Arthas. She felt horror in that dark place.
”We are bound to the will of the dormant Lich King. Imprisoned atop Icecrown, possibly for eternity. We hunger for our freedom, as you once hungered for yours.” Annhylde knelt beside Sylvanas, the other Val’kyr clustering around the pair of them, arms linked. “We need a vessel. One like us. A sister of war. Strong. Who understands life and death. Who has seen the light and the dark. Someone worthy—worthy of power over life and death.”
“We need you,” repeated Agatha, her black hair floating freely in the light.
“My sisters will be free, free of the Lich King forever, but their souls will be bound to yours,” Annhylde continued. “Sylvanas Windrunner, Dark Lady, queen of the Forsaken… you may walk with the living again through the sisterhood of the Val’kyr. As long as they live, so too shall you. Freedom, life… and power over death. This is our pact. Do you accept our gift?” — Edge of Night
Some people might ask whether Helheim and this place are one and the same.
I chose to believe not. Helheim is controlled by Helya. Helya created Helheim, to be more precise. On the other hand, after Sylvanas suicided that place sounded more like the void. One thing we must understand about the afterlife in the Warcraft universe is that the void is now canonically the place ruled by the old gods — as per Kris Zierhut (class designer in World of Warcraft: Legion) when he discussed the new Shadow Priest resource’s mechanics:
Kris: “Finally, on the topic of immersive, we took a hard look at the shadow priest. This kinda felt like the poor cousin of affliction warlock. They got a lot of cool things. They got mind abilities, they got damage over time, they got vampiric abilities, but they don’t fit together into a cohesive whole. So what is a shadow priest really about? They are about tapping into powers of the void. And who controls the void? The Old gods.” — source: BlizzCon 2015 Legion Game Systems panel transcript
That means there is more than one afterlife in the Warcraft universe. Helheim and the Halls of Valor being among them. At least to everyone who is not a Warrior, Helheim’s origin might be a mystery. The origin of Helheim is revealed by Odyn during the Warrior class artifact questline. Check out the quest “The Hunter of Heroes” in our class artifact questline video archive.
Odyn: Helya has made a mockery of my order by creating her own “helarjar”, powerful undead tasked with hunting down heroic warriors and taking their souls before my val’kyr can claim them. Among them is her personal champion, Vigfus Bladewind, who wields stolen blades I forged myself long ago. He has returned to Tideskorn Harbor with a full cargo of stolen souls to take to Helheim. Go there, kill him and his helarjar, and make the swords yours.
NOTE: Helheim isn’t only for Vrykul. I saw a Tuskarr spirit there. Halls of Valor also has a hozen … somehow.
Is Sylvanas seeking audience with Helya to ask her to grant assylum to fallen Forsaken after learning how dreadful the void is? Is Sylvanas seeking an artifact held by Helya? Maybe the thing that allowed Helya to create Helheim? Or something else entirely?
What is Sylvanas willing to barter with Helya for exchange of whatever it is she seeks that — according to Sylvanas: “Truthfully, Stormheim holds another treasure. One that I will be pursuing by my own means.” — with Helya.
What Sylvanas experienced in the afterlife, however briefly, spooked her to the core. Maybe Arthas the Lich King did something right after all — which kept Sylvanas and her Forsaken alive. To steal the soul from death’s grasp. This is what the Val’kyr offered Sylvanas. Power over death and life with the option of freedom. If Sylvanas is in Helheim, most likely this knowledge has come from her Val’kyr. In my opinion, Sylvanas wants to create an afterlife realm of her own to prevent the death from being taken by the void (the old gods). Maybe a way, where Sylvanas can raise the souls of the fallen (Alliance and Horde), and cycle those souls from her own afterlife realm into becoming Forsaken. Unable to reproduce, that option might be a treasure worth seeking to build a future for her Forsaken.
Whichever the case, these are still my personal speculations, and we won’t have to wait until Legion goes live. Alpha servers will come back online around mid-January 2016. Hopefully, by then, the broken quest in Helheim is fixed to advance through the story. Until then.
The key thing to consider is that you find Sylvanas roughly around level 101. Who knows what else is going to happen before and after we reach level 110. This storyline alone is worth trying World of Warcraft: Legion. Could Sylvanas dare to raise King Varian? That’s one I certainly am eager to find out.