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.
Those who travel to Sunwell Plateau may have seen her -- the inexplicable human girl trapped in a bubble above the Sunwell itself, even as demons channel dark energies below. Her story is a sad one, one of the more poignant tales in Warcraft's history, but it's by and large unknown to many who play. Which is kind of a pity, when you think about it -- Anveena Teague is one of those clear in-game representations of when written material and game content collide with little success. Despite her story being told in the manga series The Sunwell Trilogy, that story never really made it into the game in any capacity.
It also means that every time myself, one of my guildmates, or simply random people that follow me over on Twitter head into Sunwell Plateau, I'm asked who that girl the bubble is, where she came from, and why she's there. And since we have yet to address Anveena's full story in Know Your Lore, I thought it was high time she was featured in a column of her own. So we're taking a break from Pandaria this week, and instead turning our attention back in time to the days of Lordaeron's fall, the days when draconic intervention was a far more common occurrence, the days when the Scourge marched en masse over the land, to a quiet little hamlet known as Tarren Mill.
Serenity in chaos
Anveena Teague was a simple farm girl, born and raised on the remote outskirts of Tarren Mill. Her mother and father loved her dearly. Farm folk, they were warm and welcoming to any who happened by, and although the Scourge continued to be a looming threat, they hadn't quite come so far south as to endanger the happy family. In fact, it was almost an idyllic existence, a bubble of normalcy and contentment in the midst of the chaos wreaking havoc on Lordaeron to the north. And perhaps Anveena would have remained there indefinitely, were it not for the intervention of dragonkind.
One day, when wandering through the forests surrounding her home, she came upon the most curious sight she'd ever seen in her young life -- an injured dragon falling from the sky, trapped in a great net. The dragon quickly transformed into a half-elf, but Anveena had already witnessed the truth. And because she was as kind as her parents, she made it her duty to take the dragon to safety. His name was Kalecgos, and he was on a mission, sent by the dragon Aspect Malygos to investigate a strange magical disturbance.
En route to find the source of the odd surge of power, he was injured by a band of hunters who were intent on killing dragons. The color of the flight didn't matter -- any dragon would do. When Kalecgos flew into their sights, they tried to take him down. And despite Kalecgos' protests about the matter, the young girl helped him back to her parent's homestead, where they were just as warm and welcoming as they were to any other -- not at all fazed at the draconic origins of the stranger.
Perhaps that should have been the first clue to Kalecgos that something was utterly wrong about this serene tableau. But he didn't think of it that way -- he was simply charmed by the kindness of the family, and worried that the band of hunters would track him to the tiny homestead.
He was right to be worried. The band of hunters had no problems at all following the trail left by Anveena and Kalecgos, bursting in on the family. But Anveena was quick to take Kalecgos to a secret passage beneath the home, leading him to safety as her parents welcomed the strangers as cheerfully as they welcomed any other. Anveena and the blue dragon were caught as they exited the passage, but Kalecgos transformed, taking the woman in one massive claw and attempting to fly to safety. The hunters didn't miss another opportunity, taking a second shot at the blue drake as he flew away -- and Kalecgos tumbled to a nearby lake.
Anveena awoke, terrified and alone. She searched the shores and was relieved to find Kalec -- again in his half-elven form. The two rushed back to Anveena's home, only to find the idyllic farmstead ablaze, and a stranger waiting for their arrival. His name was Dar'Khan Drathir, a name that should be familiar to those that have played through the blood elf starting zone. Once a powerful sorcerer, Dar'Khan sought something else -- recognition. When he didn't get the recognition, accolades and rewards he felt he so richly deserved, he turned to another who offered them all in spades -- Arthas.
Dar'Khan used his friendship with Lor'themar Theron to learn the secrets of the Sunwell's defenses. And when Arthas and the Scourge made their way through the forests of Quel'Thalas, Dar'Khan was all too willing to serve a new master, leading the way to the Sunwell itself and paving the way for its destruction. Arthas promised Dar'Khan the remnants of the Sunwell's power, once it had been used to resurrect Kel'Thuzad -- but something happened in between the moment of Kel'Thuzad's resurrection, and the time Dar'Khan was supposed to receive his grand reward.
Dar'Khan was slain in combat. Rather than let the powerful magician rot, Arthas raised him into undeath. Unperturbed, Dar'Khan marveled at the new strength that undeath offered him, and willingly continued to serve the Lich King, in hopes of gaining his reward. And the Lich King had a plan for the sorcerer -- disturbed by the sudden disappearance of the remnants of the Sunwell's power, he set Dar'Khan on the task of finding it. Even the Lich King has a use for unlimited magical power, after all. Dar'Khan, expecting the powers to be turned over to him upon their discovery, eagerly agreed to the Lich King's request.
And, having come to the small farmhouse on the outskirts of the kingdom, Dar'Khan thought he'd found just that -- or rather, a means to finding the power. The presence of blue dragons could only mean one thing: there was magic nearby, powerful magic. His appearance caught Anveena and Kalecgos completely by surprise as Dar'Khan slipped identical rings of binding about both their necks, rendering both defenseless. He demanded to know where the Sunwell's latent energies were located. Anveena had no idea what he was talking about, and Kalecgos had no information for him, either. Before Dar'Khan could kill either of the two, they were rescued by the timely arrival of Tyrygosa -- another blue dragon, and the future mate of Kalecgos.
Without giving the undead sorcerer a second thought, Tyrygosa simply set the man ablaze. Although that seemed to solve the immediate problem, there was still the matter of the collars that still bound both Kalecgos and Anveena. And while Anveena searched through the smoldering wreckage of her home for any sign of her beloved parents, Tyri coldly pointed out that Malygos could remove the ring from Kalec's neck, suggesting they simply leave the woman behind. Kalec couldn't do it. There was something about Anveena, her kindness, her willingness to help -- and he was in part responsible for the destruction of her home and her family.
Anveena only had one lead that might be of any use -- the name of a man who her family knew quite well. The man, Borel, was someone that she hadn't really met face to face, but she felt that he of all people would be able to help her. And although there was no trace of her parents within the wreckage, Anveena did find something else of use -- an egg that hatched into a tiny wyrm. She named the little thing Raac, immediately becoming attached to the little creature. And that, finally, set off the warning bells as far as Kalecgos was concerned. There was something very peculiar about the little wyrm, and he was beginning to think it had something to do with the Sunwell, and the energy he'd been sent to find.
The three traveled to Tarren Mill, where they discovered a few key pieces of information -- Borel was nowhere to be found, but a young human named Jorad Mace seemed to have a connection to the mysterious individual. More alarmingly, Dar'Khan was not dead -- it seemed whatever power the Lich King had used to raise the former elf into undeath was far stronger than any of them had thought. They managed to escape again, and Jorad pointed out he had a dwarven friend who could remove the collars, far to the north. But the Hinterlands held another surprise -- a frost wrym.
The wyrm attacked, and the four were separated -- Jorad and Tyri imprisoned in icy crystals, Kalec on his own, and Anveena in the safe, if dilapidated, home of a formerly living baron in the peculiar company of a tauren traveler. The baron, Valimar Mordis, was oddly benevolent and kind for one undead, and his companion Trag Highmountain was gruff, but kind to Anveena. Valimar noted that the Alterac mountains were riddled with Scourge, and he intended to rout them out using a magic artifact -- an Orb of Ner'zhul.
But it all went horribly wrong. Baron Valimar was a Forsaken, of course -- he'd broken free from the Lich King's control -- but that benevolence was really just a way to charm Anveena into using the Orb of Ner'zhul. The Orb seemed to sense a great deal of power in the girl, and Valimar intended to take advantage of it; while he couldn't use the Orb himself, he could certainly charm Anveena into doing so. Kalec, Jorad, and Tyri were reunited just in time to witness Anveena's strange powers -- and just in time to see her whisked away by Dar'Khan the moment Valimar was killed by Trag. Although Trag Highmountain was fond of the baron in life, he recognized the darkness that undeath had brought to the baron, and sacrificed his own life to stop Valimar's plans.
As for Anveena, she was helpless to defend herself as Dar'Khan took her to her unexpected birthplace -- the forests of Quel'Thalas.
It was there that Anveena at last discovered what she'd known all along, but locked away. Anveena Teague was not a human, not a woman, not the product of a loving marriage. Her home was a sham, her entire life to date nothing more than a lie. In the forests of Quel'thalas, she finally met the stranger her parents had known so well -- and Borel was a lie as well, a human guise of the red dragon Korialstrasz. When the Sunwell was defiled by Arthas, Korialstrasz realized even the remnants of what was left of the Sunwell's immense power would be exceedingly dangerous if it fell into the hands of the Lich King.
And so he took those remnants and disguised them in corporeal form, giving them the shape of a young human woman, the memories of a happy life, and creating a mother and father to watch over her and act as the red dragon's eyes. When her home was destroyed, Anveena's parents weren't killed -- because they never existed to begin with. Raac wasn't a source of immeasurable power -- the little wyrm was simply another set of eyes for Korialstrasz, in case something happened to the illusion of her parents.
What Korialstrasz didn't expect, what astounded him was Anveena's emotional reaction to the truth. The energy he'd disguised as Anveena was merely that, magical energy, nothing more. Yet it had somehow developed feelings, emotions, all the traits that make a human distinctly human. And although it took a little time to sink in, when Anveena finally remembered who -- or rather what -- she was, she also realized that Dar'Khan had absolutely no power over her, no hold. Which is when she set those powers on the betrayer, vaporizing the sorcerer with no hesitation.
Dar'Khan supposedly died that day. Yet he makes a return appearance in the blood elf starting zone. How he returned is still a mystery, however it seems that will be addressed in the upcoming novella Blood of the Highborne by Micky Neilson. As for Anveena, she decided to remain hidden in Quel'thalas, the truth of what she was a secret that had to be kept safe. Although Tyrygosa decided to leave and return Jorad to his home, Kalec decided to remain behind. Because in all of the chaos surrounding the hunt for Anveena's identity, he'd fallen in love with the woman -- and who could blame him? He was a blue dragon, and she represented everything the Blue Dragonflight sought to protect and care for -- magic in its purest form.
It would have been nice if that had been the happily ever after to this tale, dragon and magic joyfully united and kept secret and safe. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
In The Burning Crusade, Kael'thas Sunstrider finally made a return to his beleaguered kingdom. Yet the occasion was not the triumph that the sin'dorei had hoped for -- Kael'thas had fallen under the sway of the Burning Legion. He stole the captured naaru, M'uru, to use for his own purposes, and he made one more move that few realized had occurred -- he found and captured Anveena. Although how Prince Kael'thas heard of Anveena and her origins is unknown, it can be assumed that perhaps Lor'themar informed the prince before he left for Outland, or simply that the Burning Legion sensed Anveena's immense power. Regardless, she was taken away, imprisoned above the Sunwell, her powers drained in dark rituals for the purpose of bringing Kil'jaeden into the world.
Brainwashed into serving Kil'jaeden, Anveena fed the Sunwell with her power while Kalecgos frantically tried to find her. This is why we see him in Magister's Terrace, and later in Sunwell Plateau. He's desperately trying to find his beloved before it's too late and Kil'jaeden is set loose on Azeroth. And he finds her as we do, too late to stop the beginning of the ritual -- but his voice called her back from her brainwashed state. In that moment, Anveena knew what she had to do. And despite the fact that she loved Kalecgos and was, in her own odd fashion, human, she sacrificed that shred of almost-life to weaken Kil'jaeden and allow us to send him back to the Twisting Nether.
Anveena Teague was dead. But was she ever really alive to begin with? Kalecgos certainly thought so -- to him she was alive, a kind, beautiful woman who'd unexpectedly helped a blue dragon in distress with no real reason to do so. A woman who, although she knew her life to be a lie, still had the capacity to love. And a woman whose generosity led to willing self-sacrifice as she bled the last of all that she was to keep the Burning Legion from returning to the world.
A woman who was not a woman at all, whose bravery and generosity would only be acknowledged by Kalecgos' final words.
"Goodbye, Anveena, my love. Few will remember your name, yet this day you change the course of destiny."
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.