Artifact Appearance and Tint:
Calia in Before the Storm
After the Legion’s defeat, she met up with King Anduin Wrynn and had a plan to reconnect the living with the Forsaken. After all, if priests from all kinds of backgrounds were able to put aside their differences and work together in the order hall...perhaps there was hope of reconnecting with lost loved ones. That was the idea anyways. A story told in the novel Before the Storm which I have covered in greater detail in another video.
Ultimately, Sylvanas goes along with the plan of meeting up in the Arathi Highlands. For some humans, seeing their loves ones as undead was too much to handle and they turned around before they even had a chance to talk. But others had a fantastic day, did not want it to end. Calia had also promised that she had no intention of reclaiming Lordaeron--she was just Calia now and her home had been lost many years ago. Yet when the Forsaken recognized her and asked her to stand with them, to help them keep this day going and abandon Sylvanas for the Alliance, she decided to stand with them.
This was not what the Alliance and Horde had agreed on. No one had expected her to make such a drastic move, not even herself. The Forsaken heard the signal sounding the retreat, calling them back home. Some ignored it entirely and kept running while others had no intention of betraying the dark lady. She was their ruler, their queen and they wouldn’t betray her...not even for Calia Menethil. Despite running home at the sound of the signal, they were shot down all the same.
Sylvanas did not know if those that came back did so out of fear and how tempted were they to stay until that point. She couldn’t take the risk of allowing their hope to grow. It is an infection ready to spread and she has to cut it out. She also knew that Calia rising up wasn’t Anduin’s doing, the boy king wasn’t that stupid. This was on the head of that Calia girl and she was going to pay. The banshee queen herself fired the arrow that took Calia’s life despite Anduin rushing the field and trying to save her. The Warchief was smart enough not to start her war quite yet. She only shot down her own people, her own Forsaken and Calia who wasn’t part of the Alliance. Neither side started a war that day, however, this would not be the end of Calia’s story quite yet.
One of our past collaborations with Nobbel87 was The Story of Before the Storm
. In this article, we analyze important sections of the novel and highlight their in-game references as usual.
One notable Easter egg is that important Forsaken characters killed in Before the Storm
have a graveyard
in Battle for Azeroth, as well as tombstones and little details like a wedding ring on Elsie's tomb.
Calia's body is brought back to the Netherlight Temple, the Priest Prder Hall, where a couple of days later Anduin meets with Alonsus and the Naaru Saa’ra. The being of Light spoke to them...
Calia would come to me when the dreams of what was past were too painful to endure. I cautioned her to have patience. There were things she had to do before the dreams would cease, things she must understand. People who would need her help.
And I assured her of this seemingly strange truth: that sometimes the most beautiful and important gifts come wrapped in pain and blood.
There will be no more of those battles for her now. Calia Menethil will be freed from the pain of the living, from the nightmares that once rent her heart.
She understood that those on that field were her people. And she accepted that responsibility by giving her life to try to save them. Not human, as they were when she was young, but Forsaken, as they were in that moment.
Light and dark. Forsaken priest and human priest. Together you shall bring her back as the Light and she herself would have her be.
Anduin didn’t know what the naaru had meant by those words, and he suspected that Faol didn’t either. But somehow, he knew, Calia did. Anduin and Faol act a vessel for the Light until Calia’s cold hand squeezed that of the king. Anduin gasped as Calia opened her eyes. They glowed a soft, gentle white, not the eerie yellow hue of a Forsaken’s. A smile curved a face that had no flush of life to it. Calia Menethil was dead, but she lived. She was no mindless undead, but she was not Forsaken, either. She had been raised by a human and a Forsaken both using the power of the Light, bathed in the radiance of a naaru.
Anduin watched as everyone responded to Calia’s – what? Resurrection? No, she was still dead. Dark gift? That wouldn’t be accurate either, because it was the Light that had been present today. There was nothing of darkness in this undead woman.
Anduin and Calia get a chance to speak again. She explains that ever since she met Faol, she had believed that one day if given the chance, she could show that even though she was not Forsaken, she could treat them as her people and rule them well. Her brother had tried to destroy them. All she wanted to do was help them. When word of the gathering reached her ears, she thought this was the way to do so. Meet the Forsaken who were not priests and see how they would react to meeting their families again. That was all she intended for the gathering, but when she was given the choice, when she was asked to help, she could either support them and reveal who she was, get them to safety, or disavow them and get them killed. But, she got them killed anyway. Even worse, she nearly started a war.
She could have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands. She understands that now. Her only excuse is that she was never taught how to rule, that was the job meant for Arthas. She never formally studied politics or strategy, so when she was out there she just followed her heart, a luxury that a ruler doesn’t always have. Perhaps with time she will learn, but for now she’s not ready to rule. She wishes to serve the people of Lordaeron, still sees them as her people and now with this resurrection, this undead body infused with the Light, she’s like them...
No. I am not yet ready to rule. But I wish to serve the people of Lordaeron. They are my people, and now I am like them. It feels...right." She smiled. "I'll learn. And from the archbishop, I'll learn what it's like to be...this. To be undead yet walk in the Light.
It should have been ghoulish. But as Calia Menethil, changed but still herself, gazed at the king of Stormwind, all Anduin could think of were the naaru’s words: Calia was freed forever from the nightmares that had haunted her. And he was glad. It was the only comfort on one of the bleakest days he had ever known.
That’s where Calia’s story ends for the moment where as the book is followed by the events of Battle for Azeroth, meaning the war between the Horde and the Alliance.
- Immediately following the events of Before the Storm, we move into the events which set the Burning of Teldrassil into motion. We analyzed the events in great detail in The Story of the Burning of Teldrassil, explaining the out-of-game events only described in the novellas. We also highlighted the lyrics to the Lament for Teldrassil and spotlighted the role of Tyrande in the novellas, as she was mostly-absent from the in-game events.
- Several weeks later, the Battle for Lordaeron unlocked, in which Sylvanas unleashed blight on both Alliance and Horde, Jaina showed up to seemingly save the day, and victory was snatched away from the Alliance by Sylvanas giving orders to blast the keep. Lordaeron was destroyed, and Sylvanas escaped. We analyzed Sylvanas' recent character development in Sylvanas' Motivation and Parallels to Arthas in the BFA Pre-Patch.
- Calia's story isn't the only one from Before the Storm to resurface later in Battle for Azeroth. The goblin and gnome couple, Grizzek Fizzwrench and Sapphronetta Flivvers, have made several reappearances, first as a subtle Easter egg during Assaults, then as a special questline for Feathers, and finally we encounter them in Mechagon.
Calia and the Battle of Dazar'alor
Calia’s fate wasn’t mentioned until after the battle of Dazar’alor some months later...
“It’s good to have you back with us Aunti, I missed you.”
“So much transpired while I was away. Anduin...I’ve heard rumors about an old friend of mine – Calia Menethil. What happened in Arathi?”
“There is much to explain. Some I still don’t fully understand. But I’ll tell you what I know.”
“Thank you. Let’s find somewhere quiet to talk.”
This means Jaina is aware of what happened to her childhood friend. In the Horde’s war campaign, twe're beneath the waves where we stumble across the body of Derek Proudmoore, Jaina’s brother who died defending the world against the first Horde invasion. He’s brought back by the Dark Lady with the intend to twist his mind, turn him into a weapon that will rip apart the Alliance from within. Baine Bloodhoof, leader of the Tauren, can no longer sit idle by and watch Sylvanas destroy everything he stands for, everything he believes the Horde stands for. Behind his Warchief’s back, Baine leads a rescue mission. A successful one at that and Derek is reunited with his sister.
“So much has changed, Derek. I ... there is something I must tell you.”
“I know about father. The Horde spewed lies to poison me against you. But Baine explained the truth of what happened. You, mother, and Tandred all endured so much. I’m pleased you have each other again, but...where does my path lead? ”
“I don’t know. But we will the answer together.”
“ I can’t come home, can I?”
‘No. Not yet. But I know others who have been through this. I believe they can help you.”
“Will you come with me, Jaina? I...I don’t know if I can do this alone.”
“Of course, Derek. No matter the storm, we will face it...as family.”
It’s not a certainty, but considering Jaina is aware of what happened to Calia and the Priest Order Hall houses those that share a similar fate to Derek’s...I imagine that he’s hanging out at the Netherlight Temple with Alonsus and Calia.
Some events described above take place in the Patch 8.1 Horde War Campaign
. In this campaign, you will also see the Horde steal the Abyssal Scepter, find Derek Proudmoore's body, and help Lady Ashvane escape from the Tol Dagor prison. The War Campaign is needed for several Allied Races:
At the end of the 8.1 War Campaign, you will receive the achievement Tides of Vengeance
The Horde War Campaign also gives reputation with the Honorbound Faction
. Hitting Exalted is required to unlock the Mag'har Orc Allied Race
Completing the Campaign as well as Loremaster on both sides rewards Two Sides to Every Tale
Patch 8.1 and the War Campaign culminated in the opening of the new raid, which we've recapped in the Story of Dazar'alor
The raid came with several cinematics and narrative plot twists, which we further analyzed in Rastakhan Cinematic Analysis
, Who Won the Battle of Dazar'alor?
and the Siege of Dazar'alor Cinematic Analysis
While Dazar'alor is no longer a current raid, you may still want to run it for rewards like Dazar'alor Windreaver
, and Glacial Tidestorm
The story then continued in Patch 8.1.5 with the arrest of Baine Bloodhoof and reunion of Jaina and Derek, which we've discussed here
. It remains to be seen whether Derek has regained his free will, or if returning him to Jaina was part of Sylvanas' master plan.
This story then took a backseat in Patch 8.2, but Sylvanas' motivations remain murky as the Blade of the Black Empire, in the hands of Nathanos, guides us to Nazjatar in the opening cinematic
. The Alliance and Horde also work together to free Baine from Orgrimmar, leading to further speculation that faction lines could be redrawn
in a future expansion.
Calia, Sylvanas, and Future Speculation
It’s anyone’s guess what that means for the future of the story. A story that’s going to be further told as Calia’s undead model has been datamined from the patch 8.2.5. That’s all we have really, just a model, but knowing that they’ve gone through the effort of even giving her a unique model means that she’ll have her part to play.
Anything goes when we’re talking about the future so keep in mind that this next bit is going to be speculation and by all means, I’d love to hear what you think!
Sylvanas Windrunner, leader of the Forsaken, wanted vengeance for what Arthas had done to her. She accomplished this goal at the end of Wrath of the Lich King, to which they had to give her a new motivation. They decided to have her kill herself and end up in hell which lead to a bargain with the val’kyr. They’ll take her place in hell, keep her going and in exchange they would be free from Bolvar's control. Over time we saw Sylvanas become more and more like they thing she had fought against. In the case of Derek she worked very hard on taking his free will, one of the things the Forsaken held so dear when they decided to sign up and serve Sylvanas. If you remember how Lilian was brought back to life by the val'kyr and she decided not to join. Nobody made a problem of that, the choice was always given, but the goal Sylvanas chases...staying alive and out of hell, has pushed her to go further.
She cares about the Forsaken as we can read in Before the Storm. She doesn’t want to inflict further pain or suffering upon them, yet at the same time her compassion has a limit. No longer arrows in her quiver, they are her bulwark against the infinite. She cares, but cares about staying out of hell a lot more. So much so that she decided to start a war with the intent of wiping out the Alliance. Time breaks all bonds so negotiating with the boy king would only be a temporary solution. The invasion into Darkshore was to remove a big threat against her, a plan that failed and backfired. Sylvanas wants to stay alive and will do everything it takes to conquer death, that’s her motivation at this point in time unless they pull a twist and reveal this whole big motivation that’s not been mentioned yet.
This war against the Alliance, pushing the Horde further and further has the Horde rise up against her similar to the days of Warchief Garrosh Hellscream. He was kicked out of the mantle of Warchief but not killed, instead they placed him on trial which lead into the next expansion Warlords of Draenor. I find it extremely difficult to predict what they’re going to do with Sylvanas, but I can not imagine her staying on as Warchief.
We've written a series of articles analyzing Sylvanas' motivations, including Story of the Afterlife and Shadowlands - Who Touched Vol'jin's Spirit?
which may be relevant if we go to the Shadowlands as speculated in a future patch.
While Patch 8.2 focuses on the Old Gods with Nazjatar and Azshara, this may also be tied back to Sylvanas. With so many Old Gods whispers floating about, some appear to reference the Dark Lady--either aware of the plans of the Old God, or a terrifying enemy of theirs. Here are some articles we've written speculating on the tantalizing, but sometimes contradictory, hints about Sylvanas:
- Sylvanas' Endgame, Old Gods, and the Faction War - What does Sylvanas actually want, where do her true allegiances lie, and what schemes does she still have in store?
- A Warbringer for Every Patch: Plot Twists for Azshara and Sylvanas - Jaina was the center of Patch 8.1, and Azshara is similarly the focus of 8.2. What if Sylvanas is the focus of Patch 8.3? Jaina also survived her boss encounter in Dazar'alor, so...what if Azshara survives hers as well?
- Where is the Prison of N'Zoth? - N'Zoth is imprisoned, that's not news. But has the location of his prison changed? How could it have moved, and why is it ominous if the location is near the Well of Eternity?
- Ny'alotha, the Sleeping City of N'Zoth - During PTR testing, raid boss Za’qul received a name change, going from Herald of N'zoth to Harbinger of Ny'alotha. This led us down a very fun rabbit hole.
- Eye of the Corruptor Whispers in Nazjatar - The Eye of the Corruptor is a gigantic zoatroid that whispers us ominous prophecies. Let's see how bad things can get.
- Sylvanas and the Wrathgate - A look at Sylvanas' possible motivations, various interpretations of the Wrathgate quote implying she was involved in part of it, and why it was so shocking even though we've known for a while in Chronicle that she had some involvement.
- Azshara's Magnificent Welcome - Analysis of the Nazjatar Cinematic - What is Nathanos doing with the dagger?
Reshaping of Faction Lines
So what about leadership of the Forsaken? If the Alliance and Horde are no longer aiming their weapons at each other, but instead focus on Sylvanas, what does that mean to the Forsaken? In an RTS setting I’d assume that all the Forsaken stand with her, stand with the Dark Lady, but this is World of Warcraft. You can’t really remove or exclude one of the factions as people still need their characters and their friends to play with. Just think back to Garrosh. There were orcs loyal to him, loyal till the end, but the orcs we play as automatically fell in line with what the majority of the Horde was doing. So in this WoW setting what would the motivation for the Forsaken be to stand with the Horde?
What about opening their eyes to the events of Arathi and Sylvanas shooting down everyone, even those that tried to run back? What about opening their eyes to the removal of free will, their Dark Lady becoming more and more like Arthas the Lich King? Not to mention there’s the whole bit of some force plotting to make her the Warchief and some force messing about with vol’jin’s spirit.
Where would Calia fit into this story? As a Menethil she’d have some claim to Lordaeron, that beautiful capital sieged by the Alliance and blown up by Sylvanas. She’s even called queen in Before the Storm. Would the Forsaken be able to look past the part that her family royally screwed them over and placed the curse of undeath upon them? Maybe. It’s not like Calia had any say or active role in the plague hitting their lands. Her brother’s actions hurt her as much as anyone, not to mention that she could offer a new way of being undead, being Forsaken. Taking over from Sylvanas could make sense in the story if given enough time. I have my doubts that the playerbase would also enjoy that choice and you could argue that having Calia as a leader of the Forsaken would nullify any real tension left between the Alliance and the Horde. Perhaps that’s a good thing. Perhaps it is time to focus less on the faction war and unite against a big bad again. N’zoth is free and roaming about. It should take all of our time and effort to rise up against that threat, rather than fighting each other again.
In the Crossroads cinematic
, we get a teaser of potential peace between the factions. Jaina and Thrall reminisce on their past allegiances, strife, and how to improve moving forward.
A breakdown of the two factions would also help the game for practical reasons--removing the constant issues of Alliance vs Horde balance in competitive WoW. For example, when Crucible Cutting Edge for Horde
hit 100 guilds, only 12 Alliance guilds had defeated Mythic Uu'nat. This type of extreme faction imbalance would be solved should the faction divide change.
Read more in The End of Factions? Analysis of the Crossroads Cinematic
Light Forsaken Customization
As a final argument and reasoning for making Calia the leader of the Forsaken, doing so would keep the Forsaken going. In the past, the Forsaken was made up of those that had fallen to the plague, to the actions of Arthas and the Lich King, but were able to regain control. But with the Cataclysm, Sylvanas gained the val'kyr as her allies. Now she’s the one resurrecting Forsaken, adding troops to the ranks, but still giving the newly raised Forsaken a choice on what they want to do.
Say that we do take care of Sylvanas. She is killed, sacrificed, we make her run away, or we take out those last Val'kyr remaining, where would their allegiance be? Don’t forget that in Legion, Sylvanas was looking for the power to create more val'kyr. The Forsaken can not reproduce, she had to find some way to keep her people going so if events don’t go in her favor...the Forsaken will need some way to be resurrected. If they’re given a new leader, a new path and motivation, perhaps it’s time to also give them a new way of being resurrected--in a similar way as Calia was brought back. Light infused Forsaken, a customization option so you still have the option to be an old school Forsaken or one of the new generation. This way they can let go of the motivations of the past. Answer the question as to why the Forsaken should keep going, a question also raised in Before the Storm.. It would mean some massive changes to the Forsaken and its playerbase. Calia is such an opposite of Sylvanas. I’d personally be a bigger fan of someone like Lilian taking control, but it’s definitely a direction they could take.
We've written before
that each major Patch of BFA so far focuses on a different Warbringer, which would lead to Sylvanas being the focus of the final patch of the expansion as we learn more about her motives. With a Sylvanas-centric plot, we'd hope to see payoff to the choice of allegiance between Saurfang and Sylvanas
that Horde players made earlier in Battle for Azeroth
, and possibly even a new type of Undead forged in the Light like Calia Menethil
. While we used it as an April Fools joke
, there's a strong case to be made that a new type of Undead could fit into the roster of playable races, represented by Derek Proudmoore and Calia Menethil; it would set up a nice parallel between Sylvanas' ability to raise the dead as Forsaken while her rival faction leader Anduin assists in bringing undead to the Light.
As the Horde leadership is divides further, we could also see a breakdown of the current factions, with fringe groups of Undead and Night Elves both. Should Patch 8.3 center on Sylvanas, the question of how to handle her controversial leadership would rise to the forefront. Perhaps we may even start to see similar dissent between Alliance leadership, hinted as a future plot point in the Polygon interview
Alliance don’t have that same division in their ranks just yet, and there isn’t that same natural point of choice.
Patch 8.1, which focused on Jaina, saw the Horde leadership grow divided. Should the Sylvanas patch mirror Jaina's patch, the Alliance would then start to see internal conflict. We've previously gotten a minor divide in the Battle for Darkshore--Anduin focused on the military campaign in Dazar'alor, while Tyrande and Genn went to fight Darkshore. Should Anduin continue putting off assistance to Darkshore, the Night Elves and Worgen could further splinter--with the loss of Genn hitting Anduin hard. The Gnomes, lacking a leader with Mekkatorque in a coma, may also be restless, while Alleria, always a wildcard, could finally cross a line with her whispers, wrecking the delicate balance of peace.
We also know from Jailor of the Damned that the Frozen Throne is apparently a gateway between Azeroth and the Shadowlands, which could indicate some new story for Bolvar Fordragon (and his daughter, Taelia!). Neither of them like Sylvanas very much either, both opposed to Sylvanas' ambition and disruption of the balance between life and death, so this could be a part of eventual confrontation as one or the other try to oppose whatever plan she puts in motion. We could now be in a race against time to see what happens first--the Old Gods breaking free to fully corrupt the world, or Sylvanas hastening the death of Azeroth through continuous escalation of the faction conflict, harmful use of Azerite, and raising enemies into Undeath.
As I’m writing this, I do very much wonder how much the player base would enjoy this story direction and if it received enough development in the expansion to actually make sense. Yet at the same time it’s incredibly difficult to see what they’re going to do with Sylvanas anyways. I can’t imagine her staying on in a leadership role yet at the same time... can you imagine the Forsaken without their Banshee Queen?
But of course this is just one path they could follow. The future is still unwritten and honestly can’t wait to see what they have in mind. By all means let me know how you’d like to see the story unfold. Perhaps you just want Sylvanas to stay or Lilian Voss to take over leadership. Perhaps light forged Forsaken could join the Alliance instead? The possibilities are endless, I’m sure that together we can come up with some really cool ideas!
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