In the last Retold we went over all of the cosmic forces that serve as the larger players in the Warcraft universe. Today we will be taking a much closer look at the origins of the Titans as well as where they are now, but before diving into the new story, I’d like to address what we were missing in terms of lore for the Titans.
Starting off, we have their actual origins; No one was exactly sure what the Titans were. Were they manifestations of pure light or were they created by something even more powerful than themselves? Likewise with their enigmatic motives, we knew that they set out to maintain order on planets, but we had no real context for why they did it. Finally, the greatest mystery of them all is where the Titans disappeared to. After setting up their machines on Azeroth the Titans seemed to have just disappeared and left their watchers without any guidance. Since then, they have been entirely silent which has left us to wonder what has happened to them.
The Titans were born into the Universe when life sprung up for the first time. Initially, they were not physical beings, but instead, their souls existed inside the core of planets to be known as world-souls. When they awoke, their bodies were made of the planet they once dwelled inside. Aman’Thul was the first of the Titans to wake up. He knew that others of his kind must exist somewhere in the universe so he set out to find them. During this time, he nurtured planets until their world-souls awoke to join him. These Titans became known as the Pantheon. Knowing that they wielded great power, these Titans bound themselves to a code to show restraint against other civilizations. Through their travels, they knew that they must bring order for their search to become effective, so with each planet they began a series of tasks. Firstly they would calm the raging elements then shape the world with all of its landforms. Next, they would give it life and wait to see if a world-soul matured and would awaken. Most of the planets did not contain a world-soul, but even so, the Pantheon did not forsake the planets. To monitor the planets they had visited, the Titans placed large machines, which could also purge the life of the planet if they deemed it necessary.
During this time, the Pantheon’s most relevant enemy came into view: the Demons who bled into the physical realm from the Twisting Nether. To combat these Demons the Pantheon sent out their strongest warrior, Sargeras. Without question, Sargeras cut down countless thousands of Demons, yet no matter how many he killed, they always returned and he soon noticed that he was repeatedly slaying the same Demon. The Pantheon saw that the Demons would not cease, so they sent another Titan by the name of Aggramar to help Sargeras. This allowed Sargeras to study the Twisting Nether where he built a pocket, which would act as a prison for all the Demons they would slay. Overwhelming success against the Demons caused the prison to rip at the veil between the physical realm and the Twisting Nether with resulted in the prison appearing as a bright star. At one point Sargeras and Aggramar agreed that they would save more worlds if they separated which ended with Sargeras in a remote corner of the physical universe. It was here he found a planet infected by the Old Gods with a slumbering world-soul inside. In the shadows of the Old Gods were a group of Nathrezim. Sargeras captured and questioned the Nathrezim, who revealed that they had discovered the intentions of the Old Gods as well as Void Lords. He learned that the Void Lords sought to corrupt a sleeping Titan so that it would consume all life in the physical universe. For the first time the undefeated Titan felt fear. Rage consumed Sargeras as well as feeling deep sorrow. In a single blow he split the world in two, destroying the Old Gods burrowed in the planet’s surface, but also the world-soul.
Soon after, the Pantheon met and Sargeras told them of his discovery. The others did not agree with his actions and condemned his decision to kill one of their own. They believed that if he had instead called on the Pantheon for assistance, they would have been able to purge the corruption and save the world-soul and they continued to argue about how best to deal with void lords. Despite his attempts to persuade the Pantheon why his actions were justified, his efforts were in vain. They had never seen the Void or the Demons like he and Aggramar. It was during all this that Sargeras expressed his feelings that existence itself was flawed. He thought that only through destroying all creation could they stop the goal of the Void Lords. The others could not simply accept this ideology; instead, they belittled him and reminded him that they swore to protect all living things. Sargeras left, feeling betrayed by the Pantheon.
During the time Sargeras was absent, Aggramar continued his task of destroying all Demonic influence. Eventually, he sensed a beautiful world-soul which would later become known as Azeroth. Inside the core of Azeroth was a world-soul so powerful that Aggramar was able to feel it, despite it's dormancy. As Aggramar drew closer, he was stunned to see that void energy had already taken the planet, but had not yet been corrupted. He summoned the Pantheon and urged them to take action before it was too late. They agreed and traveled to Azeroth together, however their forms were so big that if they directly impacted Azeroth’s state they would only cause more damage. Instead, they crafted constructs known as the Aaesir and Vanir. The aesir were made of metal and commanded storms, while the vanir were made of stone and held power over earth. Together these soldiers became known as the Titan-forged. Some of these constructs were given direct powers from the Titans and built in their likeness. These would be known as the Keepers.
While the Titans worked away at the world of Azeroth, Sargeras meditated about the Universe. His fears regarding the plans of the Void Lords as well as despair surrounding the possible fate of the universe, brought him to conclude that the only way to spare the Universe was to purge it in fire. To do this, he needed an unstoppable rage. The only place he knew where such a thing existed was within Mardum, the very prison he created. Sargeras broke open the prison and was consumed in violent fel energies which made him into the burning symbol of hatred as we know him now. “Violent energies enveloped Sargeras, surging through his veins and searing his very soul. His eyes burst in gouts of emerald fire. Fel volcanoes ignited across his once-noble form, splitting his skin apart and revealing an endless furnace of blistering hate.” (World of Warcraft: Chronicles vol1., pg 49)
Even though he endured such a horrific change, Sargeras' goal never faltered. Demons spilled from the maw between the Twisting Nether and the physical realm that he had created. All of them were bathed in his horrific power and many changed in size or even grew more intelligent. Amidst this act, Sargeras learned how to destroy the Demons forever. He then offered them a deal: either fight in his command or die forever. Aggramar was the first to see the new army which Sargeras had raised. Both of them entered a battle which ended in their blades shattering in an explosion of fel and arcane magics. Aggramar retreated, but the Pantheon soon confronted Sargeras near a world named Nihilam. Aman’Thul told Sargeras of the new world they had found that would grow powerful enough to defeat the void lords in time. Sargeras listened but did not bend. Aggramar, believing a part of the former champion still lingered, disposed of his weapon and approached Sargeras while recounting tales of them fighting together. Sargeras struck Aggramar down in a howl of rage. The Pantheon was beyond infuriated and assaulted Sargeras. The fighting scarred the cosmos. Sargeras was no match for the Pantheon with his fel magics despite their incomprehensible power. Fel power would begin ripping apart the bodies and souls of the Titans. It would be Norgannon, Master of the Arcane, who would weave a protective shroud around the souls of the Pantheon then hurtle them into the cosmos. Sargeras, believing the Titans were defeated turned to strengthening his forces and seeking out this powerful new world-soul.
Stemming from this segment of lore about the Titans, my biggest smack in the face was the revelation that Azeroth is actually a sleeping Titan. For so long we wondered what was so special about the planet, and this really changes things. Also with that, I think that it is really interesting and terrifying to think of the number of possible Titans as well as old gods are out there in the universe. Of course, I can’t deny that Sargeras's story is a beautiful catastrophe; He no longer is just pure evil as he once was and now has even more depth to his character.
There is much more to be told about the ordering of Azeroth, history of The Burning Legion and the Keepers in a future Retold volume. What do you guys think of all these changes? Let me know what would you like to see in a future episode of the Retold series!