Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects
|Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects|
|Retail price||US: Hardcover, $26.00; Softcover, $8.99
UK: Hardcover, £16.99; Softcover, £5.30
When Azeroth was young, the noble titans appointed the five great dragonflights to safeguard the budding world. Each of the flights' leaders was imbued with a portion of the titans' vast cosmic powers. Together, these majestic Dragon Aspects committed themselves to thwarting any force that threatened the safety of the WORLD OF WARCRAFT.
Over ten thousand years ago, a betrayal by the maddened black Dragon Aspect, Deathwing, shattered the strength and unity of the dragonflights. His most recent assault on Azeroth—the Cataclysm—has left the world in turmoil. At the Maelstrom, the center of Azeroth's instability, former Horde warchief Thrall and other accomplished shaman struggle to keep the world from tearing apart in the wake of Deathwing's attack. Yet a battle also rages within Thrall regarding his new life in the shamanic Earthen Ring, hampering his normally unparalleled abilities.
Unable to focus on his duties, Thrall undertakes a seemingly menial task from an unexpected source: the mysterious green Dragon Aspect, Ysera. This humble endeavor soon becomes a journey spanning the lands of Azeroth and the timeways of history itself, bringing Thrall into contact with ancient dragonflights. Divided by conflict and mistrust, these dragons have become easy prey to a horrific new weapon unleashed by Deathwing's servants... a living nightmare engineered to exterminate Azeroth's winged guardians.
Of even greater concern is a bleak and terrifying possible future glimpsed by Ysera: the Hour of Twilight. Before this apocalyptic vision comes to pass, Thrall must purge his own doubts in order to discover his purpose in the world and aid Azeroth's dragonflights as they face the Twilight of the Aspects.
Following Thrall's failure to delve deep into himself during a relatively routine ritual alongside the other mighty shaman of the Earthen Ring, Thrall and Aggra begin to feel the strain of life at the Maelstrom. Despite the encouraging words of his good friends Nobundo and Rehgar, Thrall finds himself at a loss as to how best to aid his comrades. Aggra outs this doubt to pertain to his longing for the Horde, which Thrall angrily denies. After some argumentation, Thrall leaves their sanctuary to clear his head and gain some clarity.
Elsewhere, however, events are being put into motion beyond Thrall's control. After the Wyrmrest Temple was attacked and taken over by the Twilight's Hammer cult, Alexstrasza's consort Korialstrasz had seemingly betrayed the Accord; destroying the sanctums underneath the temple and all of the unhatched eggs in the process. Distraught, the embittered Life-Binder officially disbanded the Accord, and fled the scene. Ysera, who was present to witness this, appears before Thrall in her kaldorei guise.
Ysera asks Thrall to undertake a journey - of seemingly minor proportions - to relieve a small druid camp in Feralas of a rampant fire elemental. Though Thrall is dubious as to why a shaman needed at the Maelstrom itself would be tasked with such a thing, he quickly accepts upon learning of his new companion's true identity. With Ysera's urging, Thrall and Snowsong set out to the find the camp and relieve its inhabitants. Thrall is surprised to see that the camp is inhabited mainly by night elf sentinels, though after some mutual hostility, Thrall converses with the fire elemental (its attitude reminiscent of those who had attacked Orgrimmar prior to the cataclysm) and convinces it to leave. Thrall's reputation with the gathered kaldorei increases immensely, and the former warchief spends the evening feasting and drinking with them as friends.
Having succeeded in his small task, an elf named Desharin approached Thrall and urges him to come into the local woodland. After speaking with the relieved ancients, Desharin reveals himself as a green dragon; informing Thrall that Ysera has a far more important task for him and him alone.
Desharin takes Thrall to the Caverns of Time, where they are admitted entry by the bronze dragons on Ysera's behalf. While there, the two are attacked by a mysterious human in eerily familiar armour. Desharin is beheaded by the assailant, and he and Thrall do battle. The figure is able to match Thrall’s abilities with a strange mastery over time; cloaking his presence to deliver devastating blows upon the former warchief. The bronze dragons relieve the battle, and Thrall is instructed to flee through a time portal. As he makes his leave, Thrall cannot help but sense a strong aura of familiarity from the attacker.
On the other end of the time portal, Thrall finds himself at a late point in the Second War. Though overwhelmed by the possibilities - such as meeting with Doomhammer - he remains mindful that the timeline must be preserved. He is mistaken as a warlock by an orcish patrol party, and taken to a neighbouring base camp. To Thrall's astonishment, he catches a glimpse of none other than Doomhammer himself inside, along with his parents - both Durotan and Draka. After struggling to avert his gaze from them, he is approached by Draka (with an infant Thrall in tow), and after an awkward conversation with his mother, leaves to escort his parents to safety with the patrol who picked him up to begin with. However, this patrol party was none other than the one responsible for betraying his parents on the orders of Gul'dan - and Thrall is forced to watch his parents be killed by them, firsthand. Thrall throws himself into the fray as the violence ends, and exercises all of the restraint within him to let their sole surviving killer live, for the sake of the timeline.
Shattered, Thrall approaches the body of his father. He swears to a dying Durotan that his child will live, that their people would be redeemed, and that the orcs will have a land of their own. Durotan dies secure in this knowledge. However, Desharin’s murderer makes a reappearance in this timeway and attacks Thrall once more. He informs Thrall that his death is all that's on his agenda, and that killing him as a child will be far easier than his adult self. As Aedelas Blackmoore and his hunting party approaches the infant, such as proper in the true timeline, Thrall grabs his attacker and hurls him into a neighbouring river. The two struggle for a time, though after noticing a curious glittering of bronze scales, Thrall is taken to another point in time and his attacker disappears once more. Thrall comes face to face with a slightly older Taretha; embittered by what appears to have been a far harsher life. After convincing her that he is who he says he is (and showing her an identical necklace to prove it), Taretha informs him of some damning news - in this timeline, Thrall had died as a child. Blackmoore, robbed of his prized future-gladiator, did the unexpected: rather than fall further into drink and depression, he sobered up; conscripted mercenaries into his new army, and trained them all himself. Gaining huge support, Blackmoore led his army against Orgrim Doomhammer, and slew the Horde warchief in one-on-one combat. Rather than have the stunned orcs killed, however, Blackmoore engaged in a secret pact with them - to join him, and overthrow the Alliance. Blackmoore killed Terenas Menethil, slaughtered Uther the Lightbringer and Anduin Lothar; usurping the kingdom of Lordaeron and deposing House Menethil.
Thrall can barely believe it, especially the thought of the pathetic, drunk Blackmoore taking down the mighty Orgrim in a fair battle. He and Taretha travel to Dalaran, where they are admitted to Krasus' presence. Thrall grants him the ancient’s acorn, and Krasus warily assists Thrall and Taretha in finding a way to break this false timeway. The three come to realize that not only is their "timeline" false; but rather, "time" itself was the illusion here. The understanding shatters the apparent timeway, and Thrall finally finds the Aspect of Time, Nozdormu, awaiting him.
Nozdormu begins to piece together the various events occurring in both the alternate the true timeline. To Thrall’s - and the onlooking bronze dragons’ - immense shock, Nozdormu informs him that the great Aspect’s retreat from the world was in order to discover the cause of a dire event destined to happen in the future, and to avert it. This event would be Nozdormu founding and presiding over the Infinite Dragonflight. Nozdormu also admits that, as such, he was also responsible for sending the assassin after Thrall. At this point, Thrall comes to realize his mysterious assailant’s identity - the missing Blackmoore from the false timeline. Regardless of this pressing matter, Nozdormu thanks Thrall for giving him clarity; setting him another task: to find and (hopefully) lift Alexstrasza from her grief over Krasus’ demise, and to convince the blue dragonflight to set aside its differences with the others and join forces against the impending darkness.
Thrall and Tick set out to confront the bereaved Life-Binder, and the two find her in the barren wasteland of Desolace. Though Alextrasza rebukes his comfort and banishes him from her sight, Thrall does not give up hope for the Life-Binder just yet. Thrall then makes the journey to the Nexus, and after an extremely cold reception, is admitted audience with Arygos and Kalecgos. Though Kalecgos goes out of his way to make his orcish visitor comfortable; conjuring scenery of Horde-designed indulgences to make him seem more at home; Arygos is on edge with the visitor and even goes so far as to suggest his death. Thrall learns that the blue dragonflight is in the process of electing its next Aspect, and that the two most likely candidates are Maylgos’ ferocious son, Arygos himself, and none other than Kalecgos. An event known as the "Embrace" is set to occur shortly; a time where the two moons of Azeroth meet in what cosmetically appears to be the form of a mother embracing her child, hence the name. This sacred event heralds a celestial time for the blue dragons, and their best chance of truly empowering a new Aspect for their flight. To Thrall’s great relief, and to Kalecgos’ great bemusement, Kalecgos is chosen as the new Aspect. The flight as a whole are pleased with this decision, and watch eagerly as their new leader is empowered by the titans’ might. Arygos, enraged, curses the flight for fools; abandoning Coldarra.
As the flight begins to celebrate its new leader’s ascension, twilight dragons interrupt the ceremony. Thrall leaps atop Kalec's back, and the two prove a formidable fighting force. After disposing of several of the creatures, the blues give chase to the fleeing remainder. They arrive at the Wyrmrest Temple, and catch sight of the semi-functional Chromatus. Regardless, the blues press on; fighting back the twilight dragonflight with efficiency. However, Chromatus - now awakened with the blood of the murdered Arygos - engages in the battle, and cuts a swathe of destruction through the blues. Thrall is hurled off Kalec in the ensuing chaos, and finds his footing in the snow. As he calls upon the aid of the elements, he is granted a peculiar vision of Krasus’ final moments, and resolves to inform the Life-Binder of the truth behind his demise.
However, Thrall is brutally attacked by a newly-arrived Blackmoore. Wielding the Doomhammer in tandem with his powerful elemental skill, Thrall catches his mortal enemy off-guard. Blackmoore is lambasted by Thrall's summoned wind-vortex, and collapses on the floor before his former slave. As Thrall moves in to deal the final blow, Blackmoore begs for his life. Though Thrall takes no pleasure in the act, he refuses to relent; bringing the Doomhammer down upon Blackmoore and conquering the shadow he cast over Thrall's life for good.
Elsewhere, the blue dragons were beaten back by the powerful Chromatus. Kalec has Thrall rescued by one of his drakes, though the strain of leadership in the wake of their defeat begins to gnaw at the new Aspect of Magic. Thrall encourages Kalec to remain strong, and he leaves once more for Desolace.
Thrall finds Alextrasza in an even more shattered state. He shares with her the vision he was granted, and in solemn silence, the two witness Krasus' heroic sacrifice to protect the Wyrmrests' unhatched children from being born as chromatic beasts. Reinvigorated and regaining her confidence, the Life-Binder travels to the Nexus to join forces with the new Aspect of Magic. Before long, the red, blue, and green dragonflights are reunited with their respective Aspects. With their might combined, they leave to do battle with the murderous Chromatus and his ilk. After a vicious battle, Chromatus reaches his full potential - and overpowers all three of the mighty Aspects. The downhill fight is relieved by the arrival of Nozdormu and his bronze flight, and the Aspect of Time puts forward the notion that they will need to work together, in the most fundamental sense of the word, to defeat this creature that embodies all of their traits and powers. However, Chromatus has a head for each dragonflight, and there are no black dragons present to assist in this task - though Thrall, as a shaman, offers to take on that role. In their humanoid forms, the aspects open themselves along with Thrall to truly gain a sense of unity; and while he struggles to hold the ceremony together, Thrall succeeds in his role in Neltharion‘s stead. Knowing that he could never become as Aspect, he remains content with the notion that he could assist his allies in their hour of need.
The four Aspects launch a volley of powerful abilities at the stunned Chromatus, who cannot bring himself to counter the volatile new powers at their disposal. The chromatic dragon is blasted downwards; the Twilight Father in tow. Chromatus' lifeless body is stored in a specifically-made arcane prison by the blue dragonflight, as it seems impossible to completely eradicate him.
Later, the Aspects and Thrall meet on the top of Wyrmrest temple, where Nozdormu informs the group of a plot by the Old Gods To destroy the dragonflights. The hour of Twilight was fast approaching and the Dragonflights, thanks to Thrall's help, will now be ready to face it. Thrall is given both the thanks and a scale each of the dragon aspects; in return for assistance asking only for a way to travel back to the Maelstrom.
Tick takes him back to Aggra's side, where the two orcs overcome their past differences. Thrall acknowledges that he has been a slave to outside influences his entire life, though resolves to see that end. Knowing that greater trials still approach on the horizon, Thrall casts off his name; proclaiming himself as "Go'el."
The Hour of Twilight. She'd spoken of it at the meeting, tried to warn the others of it, but the warning had gotten lost; a little bright fragment of... something... had been briskly swept away like a broken bit of pottery beneath an industrious broom. It was—
She gnawed her lower lip, thinking.
It was the greatest challenge the dragonflights would face, but she did not know against whom they would be fighting. It might come soon... or aeons from now. Could it have something to do with the return of Deathwing? Surely it had to... did it not? This breaking of the world was one of the worst things that had ever happened to Azeroth.
How could she persuade others of the direness of the situation when she herself could not articulate it? She uttered a little noise of annoyance and frustration.
One thing she knew for certain. There were many pieces missing from this puzzle, but there was one core piece that was necessary before any of the others could fall into place. It was a very strange piece, an unlikely one at best, and she was uncertain as to how he would fit in. She only knew that he had to.
Ysera had seen him, floating in and out of her dreaming. She had thought she understood his role in things, but now, peculiar as it seemed, something—some inner certainty that even she did not fully understand—was leading her to think she had not seen the full breadth of his contribution to Azeroth.
He was not a dragon. But he had the interests of the dragonflights in his heart—whether he knew it or not. He straddled worlds—but did not seek to rule or command or destroy them. He was unique.
She tilted her head, let the wind play with her long green hair. Perhaps that was why he fit in. Even the Aspects were not singular beings, although each had unique abilities. Not one but five there had been at the beginning, when the titans had come and shared their power for the good of Azeroth. Four there were now, but there would soon be five again, when the blues determined how to choose the one who would lead them.
But there was only one like this being.
There was only one Thrall.
- Caverns of Time
- Various locations in the past
- Caverns of Time
- ^ World of Warcraft: Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects (Hardcover). Amazon.com Accessed 2010-11-29.