The kraken, on the other hand ... they can be summoned by the Kvaldir. But the kraken aren't a creation of the Kvaldir at all -- they are minions of Neptulon the Tidehunter, Elemental Lord of the watery depths. There are two types of kraken: those that we've encountered already like The Lurker Below and Tethyr, and larger ones, giant squid-like creatures that have only been referenced in a couple of places, like the ancient texts describing The Fall of the Gurubashi:
Neptulon unleashed the kraken because the Gurubashi were using an ancient artifact called the Stone of the Tides to summon and enslave armies of water elementals so that they could achieve the supremacy they'd lost following the war with the Atal'ai and Hakkar. Neptulon didn't appreciate his servants being harnessed and ended up destroying many of the remaining Gurubashi as punishment for their transgressions.Rising from the ocean, a tower of water, Neptulon sent the great Krakken to doomed I'lalai. So huge were their forms that jungles of kelp swayed through their limbs, and leviathans swam through bodies.
The largest Krakken then raised his arms high and crashed them into the sea, sending waves about him. And they raged toward I'lalai. The Krakken roared, and their voices thundered like an ocean storm:
Min'loth, standing firm, called forth his magic. The waves sent to I'lalia parted and washed to both sides, and they flooded the jungle beyond. Min'loth then bade his minions chant spells of binding, and a din rang out as dozens of troll voices rose.
And one voice rose above the rest. Min'loth bellowed and his magic gathered the power of his minion's spells, and he cast it at the approaching Krakken.
The seas parted and Min'loth's spell sped toward the servants of Neptulon. Lightning tore the sky and the spell struck them, and a thousand bolts fell, boiling water and burning craters in the earth. Min'loth cried in triumph, knowing his spell would fell the great beasts.
But the Krakken are old, very old. They remembered when the land was first born from the sea.
They remembered when the Old Ones ruled and when the Travelers came and cast them down. They remembered when magic was new.
They are old and they hold many secrets. And though Min'loth's spell was strong, it, like the troll, was mortal.
And so it failed.
If failed to bind the Krakken, but it enraged them. Not in aeons had a mortal caused them pain, and the troll's spell was painful.
And so they shed the bindings of Minloth's spell, but then roared and stuck with fury. A rumble was heard as great waves rose from the deep and raced toward the land. When they reached I'lalai they cast a shadow on the city.
But before they destroyed it the Krakken halted, poised.
The troll witchdoctors trembled and cried out to their master. Min'loth gazed at the mountains of the sea, doomed and defiant. He turned to his adepts and whispered, and the trolls etched his last words into stone. Min'loth then faced the looming Krakken.
He grimaced and hurled his staff, his last bold act. The Krakken then bent their fury upon Min'loth, and an ocean fell upon I'lalai.
And it was no more.
And then the waters fell upon the jungle, washing clean all they met. Trolls and beasts cried out as the waters smashed and drowned them. Many Gurubashi wondered why the ocean swallowed them, but then they died and knew nothing. And finally, when the waters reached the mountains, they stopped. Appeased, they retreated back beyond the shores, and they left a wake of death.
They retreated, but they surged around I'lalai and remained, drowning it forever.
And the chief Var'gazul, safe behind the mountains in Zul'Gurub, went out to the jungle and found it washed clean of his people. And he despaired, for his dreams of conquest were thwarted.
And never was Min'loth the Serpent found.
The other kraken of this size and scope is Ozumat, who is summoned by Lady Naz'jar to try and defeat the Kvaldir in Cataclysm. This kraken is summoned right along with a host of faceless ones who appear to be working with the naga; both are serving the Old Gods, so the alliance isn't particularly startling. What is startling is that Neptulon seems to have lost his hold over the ancient kraken, suggesting that perhaps the Old Gods have influenced the creature in such a way that it no longer bows to Neptulon but instead serves the Old Gods and with them, the naga.
Here's the interesting part. In a series of quests in Vash'jir, players take on the role of a naga battlemaiden who witnesses and helps with the summoning of Ozumat. However, the sunken city of Vash'jir is being overrun by Kvaldir, who seem intent on wiping the naga out entirely. The naga at this point have a history of working against Neptulon, seeking to rule the oceans themselves.
So here we have the Kvaldir, a mysterious race of sea vrykul that are born from the mist, emerging from the depths and summoning kraken to enact vengeance upon those that disturb the graves of their revered heroes. That vengeance is wrought by bringing forth the kraken, minions of Neptulon that for most of history have assisted Neptulon in seeking vengeance upon those that he was angry with.
Then we have this event in somewhat recent history, in which the naga -- servants of the Old Gods -- sought to summon a kraken of their own to use against the invading Kvaldir and later against Neptulon himself. During the battle, the Kvaldir managed to steal the artifact that was to be used for the summoning ritual. The naga battlemaiden has to retrieve the artifact so that Ozmat may be summoned and so the Kvaldir can be summarily wiped out. An explanation for the Kvaldir's appearance is never given, however.
What we can draw from this is that perhaps the Kvaldir aren't just a random race of sea giants that are distant cousins of the vrykul. There may be two different situations in play, though neither have been confirmed. First, the Kvaldir may be vrykul that died at sea and are now enslaved to Neptulon as a result. This doesn't make much sense in light of their actions in Northrend, however. Why would Neptulon allow mere slaves to summon something as powerful as a kraken?
Alternatively, perhaps the Kvaldir are actually vrykul who have sworn themselves into servitude -- Neptulon's servitude. In return, Neptulon blessed them with power over the kraken, his minions. To guarantee their servitude, he bound them to the oceans. No longer able to roam the land like their vrykul kin, the Kvaldir are eternally bound to the sea, able to venture no further onto the land than the mists of the shores.
What this means is that the Kvaldir aren't villains per se; they are either servants or slaves that carry out Neptulon's wishes. In the case of Vash'jir, they were sent to destroy the naga as a result of their apparent affront to Neptulon and to prevent them from summoning the minions of the Old Gods that seek to enslave the elemental lord as in days of old. In the case of Northrend, this means that those artifacts may hold some sort of importance to Neptulon.
The Kvaldir of Northrend seem to have their own agenda, yet the appearance of the kraken suggests that perhaps in some small part, they have Neptulon's blessing in this matter. It could be that those ancient artifacts, stolen by a band of unwitting pirates, hold far more power than anyone can fathom. For now, the Kvaldir remain an enemy to Alliance and Horde alike, but perhaps sometime in the future we'll find a way to communicate and possibly ally with these sea vrykul that seem so intent on carrying out Neptulon's plans. Until then, we can only defend our comrades and hope that the mists will one day vanish back into the sea.
For more information on related subjects, please look at these other Know Your Lore entries:
- The Vrykul
- The naga, part one and two
- The Elements -- Hold any form, take any shape
- Current Horde Politics, the Trolls
While you don't need to have played the previous Warcraft games to enjoy World of Warcraft, a little history goes a long way toward making the game a lot more fun. Dig into even more of the lore and history behind the World of Warcraft in WoW Insider's Guide to Warcraft Lore.