The Terrible Truth Behind the Pillars of Creation and Expansion 7

The God of the Deep writhes in his prison, breaking free ever so slowly. You should hurry and defeat the fallen titan… there are greater battles yet to fight.

-Xal’atath, Blade of the Black Empire

Since the moment this quote was first discovered in the World of Warcraft: Legion alpha, I haven’t been able to get the idea that Blizzard might already be teasing expansion seven out of my head. While N’Zoth has been built up as a threat for quite awhile, and is one of the last pre-existing big-name villains we have yet to face, nothing else like the above quote appeared. Until now.

With the release of the Emerald Nightmare raid on live servers yesterday, we’ve seen the full dialogue for the Il’gynoth boss fight. After looking through Il’gynoth’s quotes, not only am I confident in the old Xal’tath whisper as being a hint towards something greater, but I’m starting to think we may know how Legion will end and the next expansion might begin.

As players clear the trash around Il’gynoth, and during the fight itself, Il’gynoth whispers to them. Aside from the standard Old God “your heart will explode” “we have already won” type whispers, several lines stand out with potentially greater meaning.

Here is a video, uploaded by Kiraser, which contains all of Il’gynoth’s audio files. Give it a listen.

Now we’ll go through the most interesting of Il’gynoth’s lines and their potential meanings.

Flesh is his gift. He is your true creator.

“Flesh” in this case obviously refers to the Curse of Flesh, and how being made flesh has shaped races like humans, dwarves, and gnomes far more than their Titan heritage has. What’s interesting is the attribution. We know the Curse of Flesh comes from the Old Gods, but this line refers to a singular entity. What I take away from it is that perhaps N’Zoth is the creator of the Curse of Flesh, rather than it being something all of the Old Gods had a hand in. It would fit with what we know of N’Zoth. He is “the Corrupter,” and seems to be responsible for almost every Old God malady and corruption that has afflicted Azeroth. The naga? N’Zoth. Neltharion’s corruption and transformation into Deathwing? N’Zoth. The Emerald Nightmare? Technically first accessed by Yogg-Saron but widely accepted as the “creation” of N’Zoth. The Curse of Flesh fits perfectly with N’Zoth’s other achievements and would add to the general theme of N’Zoth being, while not the most powerful, the most successful/far-reaching of the Old Gods.

To find him, drown yourself in the circle of stars.

Since Cataclysm, N’Zoth’s location has been teased. We know he “lays dreaming” in the “sunken city” Ny’alotha, which is either located near or is part of “the Black Forest.” This seems to be another hint towards where N’Zoth is located, though more oblique. While the previous whispers were all tied to the themes of dreaming and the bottom of the ocean, this adds “the circle of stars” into the mix. That one must “drown yourself” in the circle goes back to the underwater themes, but otherwise doesn’t tie in with anything else. Kaldorei, the Darnassian word for Night Elf, means “Children of the Stars,” and the former night elf Queen Azshara is one of N’Zoth’s most ardent followers. So the Circle of Stars may in fact be a reference to the naga and Nazjatar. Maybe we need to drown ourselves in Nazjatar to reach N’Zoth?

The king of diamonds has been made a pawn.

King of Diamonds obviously refers to Magni, who come to think of it has been given a new model in the files for the patch 7.1 PTR… Especially strange considering he already received a new model for the pre-expansion event only a few months prior. While “made a pawn” could easily be an insulting reference Magni’s service to Azeroth (much like the Sha of Pride’s “Titan puppet” retort to Norushen), that new model shows Blizzard has plans for Magni in the near future.

The boy-king serves at the master’s table. Three lies will he offer you.

There are only two characters who the term “boy-king” brings to mind. The first and most likely choice is Anduin, and we have seen him use shadow magic before. However we also have the Anduin comic which shows he will survive and remain a force of good for decades. The other option would be Wrathion. He styles himself “the Black Prince,” but with Deathwing dead and there now being at least one subject for him to technically rule over in Ebyssian, would that not make Wrathion a King? Either way, it seems one of them, knowingly or unknowingly, is serving N’Zoth. If its Anduin, then at least we know he’ll get redeemed or un-corrupted at some point.

Her heart is a crater, and we have filled it.

On websites like Scrolls of Lore and MMO-Champion, there’s already been much discussion over the potential meaning of this line. Jaina, Sylvanas, even Azeroth herself are commonly brought up as potential identities for “her.” While there is a strong case to be made for this line being in relation to Azeroth and the Well of Eternity, the “heart is a crater” metaphor, at least to me, fits Jaina best. Theramore’s destruction hurt Jaina in a way like no other tragedy she’s witnessed, its destruction also left a literal crater. Then we have Jaina’s abrupt departure during the pre-expansion quests with the stereotypical villainous line “You disappoint me, King of Stormwind. But sooner or later, you will see the truth. You all will!” Her whereabouts are still unknown, with the most common speculation being that she’s gone to Kul’Tiras. Its location in the Great Sea would put Kul’Tiras in proximity to Azshara and the naga, servants of N’Zoth. What if naga invade Kul’Tiras? Or worse still, Azshara offers Jaina a deal to get revenge on the Horde and those who wouldn’t believe her once and for all…

At the hour of her third death, she ushers in our coming.

Another “her” who appears to have a great importance to the Old Gods. Or perhaps the same one? “Third death” brings Sylvanas to mind of course, having already “died” several times. Sylvanas also isn’t a stranger to utilizing the power of the Old Gods. There’s her interest in bloodstone, and Odyn says that the Forsaken’s plague was birthed from “the Legion and the Old Gods.” It would seem a solid fit, except for one major flaw. Sylvanas has already died three times. First to Arthas, second when she committed suicide by jumping from the Frozen Throne, and third when Lord Godfrey shot her in the head. Unless Godfrey’s assassination was somehow the key to the Old Gods’ coming, I don’t see how it could fit. There aren’t any other notable “hers” who have died multiple times either, though. Maybe Il’gynoth is only counting Sylvanas’ deaths since she became undead?

N’Zoth… I journey… to Ny’alotha

Said upon Il’gynoth’s death, this quote reveals a surprising fact about Ny’alotha. Old God minions, and perhaps even Old Gods themselves, go to Ny’alotha when killed just as demons go to the Twisting Nether, or elementals to the Elemental Plane. The implications here are staggering. C’thun, Yogg-Saron, and all of their minions we have fought before such as Vezax, Zon’ozz, Soggoth the Slitherer, and others might still be out there. Also of interest is the implication that, if Ny’alotha works like the Twisting Nether or Elemental Plane, then it may not be an actual location in Azeroth but an entire dimension of its own. Maybe its part of the “Twilight Realm” we caught glimpses of in Cataclysm?

Now on to the two most important quotes from the Il’gynoth fight. Quotes which, if my assumption is correct, reveal a terrible secret resulting from our mission in Legion, one that would certainly be the lead-in to expansion seven.

Five keys to open our way. Five torches to light our path.

Legion‘s story structure has been markedly different than past expansions. We’re not fighting through a continent to reach the heart of our enemy’s lair like in The Burning Crusade or Wrath of the Lich King, exploring a new land like in Mists of Pandaria, or tracking down a specific set of villains and repairing the damage they’ve done like Cataclysm and Warlords of Draenor. In Legion, we’re on a scavenger hunt. We’re combing the Broken isles for the Pillars of Creation, which would then let us actually go about stopping the Burning Legion. A lot of emphasis is being put on these pillars, and how many are there? Five. Five Pillars of Creation, which are the keys to seal the portal at the Tomb of Sargeras. To make matters worse, this wouldn’t even be the first time the Old Gods have tried something like this. During the War of the Ancients, the Old Gods had set in motion events which would have caused the portal at the Well of Eternity to free them rather than summoning Sargeras. Remember Xal’atath’s comment on how we needed to deal with Sargeras first? This time the Old Gods are counting on us to succeed against the Legion, because this time our victory will be what frees them, rather than our defeat.

The lord of ravens will turn the key.

Lastly, if we assume “the key” is the same as the “five keys to open our way,” then this so called “lord of ravens” is of the utmost importance. Like the “her” discussed before, there are several candidates. Lord Kur’talos Ravencrest has both the Lord title and his home Black Rook Hold seems awfully similar to certain whispers from the Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron, but Ravencrest’s spirit is given peace at the end of the Black Rook Hold dungeon. Medivh is another obvious choice, and we know that at least an Echo of him will be appearing patch 7.1. Then there’s Khadgar, the former apprentice to Medivh who from Warlords of Draenor to now has become iconic for how often he transforms into a raven, even feeling the need to justify it to players during the Azsuna introductory quest. As the “hero” of the expansion, and the one who found out about the Pillars in the first place, I would hazard to guess Khadgar will be the one to use the Pillars of Creation to seal the Legion’s portal at the end of the expansion…

Ian Bates

World of Warcraft Writer and columnist for Blizzplanet. I am also known as The Red Shirt Guy (BlizzCon).

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