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Know Your Lore: The Green Dragonflight

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how, but do you know the why? Each week Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Each flight of dragons is vouchsafed with an aspect of creation itself to supervise. The five Dragon Aspects were granted their powers and dominion over Azeroth's life, magic, earth, time and more by the Titans who created them from the massive proto-dragon Galakrond in long vanished times past. In the past few KYL's we've covered Alexstrasza's Red Dragonflight, Deathwing's Black Dragonflight and its offshoot the Netherwing, and deceased Malygos' Blue Dragonflight.

This time we look at what might be the strangest dragons of them all. The servants of Ysera, the dragons of the Emerald Dream, the Green Dragonflight. In order to truly understand the green dragons, one would have to be able to understand the dream they all dream, but who can do that? How can one tell the dreamers from the dream?

Easy. The dreamers are great honking green dragons that will kill you. It's relatively simple. If you doubt their power or their resolve, go to the Temple of Atal'Hakkar and ask the Atali, trapped in a complex smashed into the water by the fury and might of Ysera herself. Even when they themselves fall victim to corruption, the green dragons are fearsome opponents. While Alexstrasza and her brood concern themselves with life and living things, Ysera is effectively the shepherd of what Dylan Thomas called 'the force that through the green fuse drives the flower' - effectively, that which makes life itself possible.

This is also what often gets them in trouble with old gods, blasphemous troll deities of bloodlust, and the loathsome Scourge and its malefic master. (I have been waiting to use 'malefic' in a sentence for so long now.)

Despite the fact that Ysera and her brood are entrusted with the Emerald Dream, which is at once a spiritual twin to the Azeroth we know, the place all the beings of that world visit when they sleep, and also a kind of 'mystical palimpsest' which is constant yet overwritten by the dynamic, ever changing world of Azeroth that it mirrrors, the green dragons are extremely reclusive in most cases. Perhaps even because of their charge, since it is at once everywhere in the world and yet separate from it. The Emerald Dream appears to be Azeroth as it would have been without sapient beings around to muck it up by, say, blowing up Wells of Eternity. It's also the home to the Nightmare, a steadily spreading corruption that can twist the native entities of the Dream into horrible monsters and ensnare the minds of those who dream so that they can't wake up. Given that the Dream is essentially what 'lies beneath' the day to day existence of Azeroth, the two realms feed back on and influence one another, and great trauma in one can and does have lasting repercussions in another. It is in fact this interaction that requires green dragons to monitor and correct when necessary.

It doesn't always work out well for them. Lethon, Taerar, Emeriss, Ysondre, and Eranikus are all members of the green dragonflight (Eranikus is in fact the very consort of Ysera) who were corrupted by the Nightmare. In fact, disturbingly it looks more and more like the green dragons are losing the fight against the Nightmare that corrupts the Dream.

The Green Dragonflight took part in the War of Ancients when the Burning Legion and the twisted members of the Highborne who served it sought to bring Sargeras forth into Azeroth, and Ysera imparted her power to what would become known as the Demon Soul alongside her fellow Aspects. With Malygos' insanity it was up to the other aspects, including Ysera, to place the warding enchantment on the disc so that Deathwing couldn't use it, and Ysera was one of the three Aspects who helped create Nordrassil on the site that Illidan Stormrage created his new Well of Eternity using the water of the old. It was Ysera's bargain with the night elf druids... sleep for centuries to help safeguard the Dream and rebuild the connection that was nearly destroyed by the Sundering when the old Well of Eternity was destroyed stopping Sargeras... that helped ensure that the long term effects of the magical cataclysm did not completely breach Azeroth from its spiritual sister realm.

It was during this time preceeding and then following the War and its destructive ending that Ysera became far more entwined in the lives of the kaldorei, stationing her children at the world trees across Kalimdor and the now separate continent to the east to guard the portals to the Dream (four of the sites would later be the sites of the Dragons of Nightmare and their attacks, while another resides to the north in Crystalsong Forest) and going so far as to form an alliance with a group of night elf survivors who would come to be known as the Dragonriders of Loreth'Aran. Ysera's alliance with these elves would unfortunately lead to their destruction at the talons of Deathwing and his black brood, and the cursed undeath that held Toreth in its grasp might go far to explain why the night elves avoided Bloodmyst and Azuremyst Isles until recently.

The rebuilding efforts that followed lasted for thousands of years. Druids slept and waked, Nordrassil reached up to the heavens and through it the Dream recovered from the destruction unleashed upon its mirror world. The already reclusive greens, more than decimated by the aftermath of Neltharion's betrayal, took up their ancient tasks as best they could and secluded themselves from the waking world for a time.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore

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