Eternal

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For other beings of reverence see religions, Ancient guardian and demigods.

Eternals are Azeroth's immortal beings. These demigods[1] and demigods-like beings are immortals with nearly divine powers.[2] Eternals are conduits to divine power for several faiths; these include titans, Elune and other Ancients such as Cenarius, Ursoc and Ursol, Malorne the Waywatcher, Agamaggan, Aviana, Queen Azshara and Lord Xavius,[3] the voodoo Loa spirits,[4][5] the Elemental Lords and Old Gods,[4][6][7] etc. Eternal is the term used for many of the gods, goddesses, demigods, deities, divinities, and other revered beings who have interacted in Azeroth's history and molded the world.

Background

Eternals are the divine-like beings of Azeroth and the other planes, who shape the large arcs of history for good and ill.[6] Many beings transcend the bounds of mortal power and play key roles in the world’s long history, either obvious or subtle. These beings are known as eternals. Wielding godlike powers, they battle to destroy or save the world, to disrupt or cultivate life upon Azeroth (and elsewhere).[8]

These are beings known only in legends to the peoples of Azeroth. Yet they are beings who have shaped not only the course of history in the world of Azeroth, but often the world itself: the Elemental Lords, ruling over planes of pure power and awaiting the time when they will once again serve the banished Old Gods; the Titans, whom the dwarves believe created Azeroth and many of its races; the great and powerful dragons who watch over the titans’ creation; the moon goddess Elune, and the demigod-like beings She created to protect and guide the creatures of the land. They are the ancient powers. While mortals fight wars to lay claim to villages and kingdoms, the powers wage a perpetual struggle to determine who will dominate the whole of the universe, with Azeroth the nearest battlefield. Though rarely seen, the influence of the ancient powers is ever-present. It is known that They wrought Azeroth from pure chaos and formed it into the world it is today.[6][8]

Most of the divine beings of Azeroth (known as eternals) are distant entities. They exist to assist those caught in the conflicts of a cruel, violent world. Never directly intervening in the affairs of the world, They use divine magic as a proxy. With their many healing and protective spells, practitioners of divine magic are at the vanguard of the Gods’ efforts to ensure Their peoples' survival. Priests whisper prayers to evoke power from beings such as Elune the Moon Goddess. Shadow hunters invoke the names of dark Gods (loa), ancient powers whose legends are stained in cruelty and bloodshed, but who are also capable of benevolence when appeased. For example a shadow hunter might venture onto grounds consecrated to the Old Gods and spill his own blood to entice the forces of primeval cruelty to come and visit their worst afflictions upon him.[9]

The ancient powers rule supreme in their particular bastions, unsurpassed in power, knowledge and ability. Each also possesses its own personality and agenda, which has led each to interact with mortals in its own way. In some cases, an ancient power may take an interest in a hero early in her life. The powers have an innate understanding of prophecy and divination surpassing that of mortals, and they are often aware of a hero’s fate long before the hero takes her first steps onto the path of adventure. A power may send monsters to kill a nascent hero years before she has an opportunity to meddle in the power’s schemes, or it may subtly assist her by quietly guiding her toward allies, information or hidden artifacts that will help her achieve her destiny. When unable to act or unwilling to show their hands, the ancient powers use mortal heroes and villains as agents to further their own agendas — Sargeras used Azshara as his servant in an attempt to open the Well of Eternity, and the human wizard Rhonin was the cat's-paw of the dragons during the Second War. Heroes may be approached by an ancient power and asked to undertake a quest. They must take care when serving an Eternal, however, as completing a task for a power may mean incredible reward in thanks for a service well performed — or utter destruction as the Eternal hides its tracks.[6]

A number of the eternals died during the War of the Ancients. This doesn’t, however, mean that those powers can have no influence in later eras. Many of the fallen powers still have followers 10,000 years later, such as the furbolg who follow in the path of the long-dead ursine demigods Ursoc and Ursol. Further, though written history says they perished, can eternals who possess the special quality of immortality truly die? Perhaps a "fallen" eternal simply sleeps away centuries while his wounds heal...[10]

Eternals usually only appear before mortals only when they have truly earned the audience through their actions, such as by performing a great service to the eternal or by making a formidable stand against its plans. The tangled web of relationships among the eternals means that a favor performed for one may be a slight to several others.

Ancient powers operate not just on levels of power far above mortals, but also on a vastly different time scale: the youngest have lived a hundred mortal lifetimes, and their goals can lay millennia away. Events of the mortal world may be more than meaningless in the larger scope of history to Eternals. For those who are asked to undertake a mission on behalf of an Eternal, the Eternal may be unable or simply unwilling to explain the reasons behind the task to "mere mortals" who cannot possibly comprehend. The immortal lifespan of Eternals allows them to collect on debts from many decades previous, and they hold grudges much longer. For example; the great dragon Neltharion spent a lifetime disguised as a human noble, infiltrating the royal courts of Lordaeron and consolidating power in order to avenge himself upon the other dragon Aspects.[8][10]

Eternals in the Warcraft universe include the titans, the Old Gods, demigods, and other powerful entities worshipped or venerated by the mortal races on Azeroth, often as part of Creation Myths of various people in the world.

History of the Eternals

Below is a brief history covering eternals from the earliest known accounts to the present.

The Dawn of History

Most of the ancient powers were encountered during Azeroth's earliest days. It was the golden age of the powers, the dragons and Elune's servants watched over the young world, Elemental Lords thought the untamed land as comfortable as their home plane. Legends claim that the world's creators still lurked in the shadows finishing the details of their creation.[6]

The Shattered World

In the aftermath of the War of the Ancients and the sundering of the world, the Burning Legion was forced off Azeroth. Azshara vanished, and the dragons went into hiding. Even the elementals retreated, and thousands of years would passed before mortal spellcasters discovered how to summon them back across the planar boundaries. Though the eternals who survived were largely unseen for almost 10,000 years, they were occasionally encountered. The eternals were humbled by Azshara's bold attempt to rise to their level of power, and remained reserved and distrustful of both mortals who sought them out and mortals whom they employed.[6][10]

Current Age

Seers and scholars maintain that the Horde's arrival through the Dark Portal heralded the return of the ancient powers to mortal events. In the years since, the great dragons and the Elemental Lords have involved themselves in the war, and both Cenarius and Sargeras have returned. As the dwarves delve deeper into the lost secrets of the Titans, some have wondered whether the Titans ever truly left. Some have found they have unwittingly been drawn into or run afoul of the schemes of a returned eternal. The Eternals appear to have recovered from any uncertainty they suffered during their millennia of retreat, however, and those who seek them out do so at their own risk.[10] Nearly every eternal has followers in the current age, from the worshippers of Elune among the night elves to the demon cults that revere the Burning Legion.[8]

List of eternals

All Eternals are demigod-like beings. They are immortal and wield divine power, but not all of them aspire to be Gods.

The Scourge

The Scourge is a vast army of the undead created and controlled by the Lich King (formerly Ner'zhul, then Arthas Menethil and now Bolvar Fordragon). The Lich King is among the most powerful entities Azeroth has ever known[11] and has been described as a demigod.[12]

Burning Legion

The Burning Legion is undoubtedly potent and some of its leaders possess demigod-like power. Those who worship demons draw terrible divine magic from their dark faith.[13] Most demons are not eternals. Sargeras, Archimonde, and Kil'jaeden are the only confirmed exceptions.[14]

  • IconSmall Sargeras.gif Sargeras - The Fallen Titan and Lord of the burning Legion
  • IconSmall Kil'jaeden.gif Kil'jaeden - The deceiver, and the acting leader of the Burning Legion
  • IconSmall Archimonde.gif Archimonde - The left hand of the fallen titan Sargeras and field commander of the Legion's forces

The titans

The titans are immortal entities who travel across the cosmos bringing order to worlds such as Azeroth, the Titans were powerful enough to chain the Old Gods, and some accounts give them titles such as "Patron of All Life". They are led by a group called the Pantheon which includes:

The Old Gods

The Old Gods were the evil rulers of Azeroth before being defeated by the titans.[6] They were the masters of the Elemental Lords.[7] Three remain imprisoned beneath the world, but continue to be worshipped by the Twilight's Hammer Cult and the naga.

  • IconSmall OldGod.gifIconSmall GiantEye.gif C'Thun - God of Qiraj
  • IconSmall Yogg-Saron.gifIconSmall Vrykul Female.gif Yogg-Saron - The Beast with a Thousand Maws
  • IconSmall N'Zoth.gif N'Zoth - The spark of the Emerald Nightmare
  • IconSmall Serpent.gif Ula-tek - A serpent goddess, believed to be a old god.The RPG Icon 16x36.png
  • IconSmall Y'Shaarj.gif Y'Shaarj - 'Dead' God of the Mantid, creator of the Sha

The old gods exist beyond Azeroth

God

God was a deity connected to certain members of the Church of the Holy Light, referenced in early Warcraft Lore and sources, and alluded to in Day of the Dragon. The belief also included angels, Heaven, and Hell.

Drakkari God

A group of four gods in form of statues, that the drakkari give sacrifices and receive blessings, although they could be considered loas, they were never stated to be such.

The Earthmother, Skyfather and the Deepmother

The Earthmother is a benevolent and primitive earth goddess whom the tauren worship above all else. She is the harmony of nature itself.[15] She is described as the creator of the land, of the sun and moon, and of the tauren people.

The Sky Father is a mysterious deity that the tauren worship as a equal of the Earthmother.

The Deep Mother is much like the earthmother, however it's a Murloc deity never associated with the tauren mythology, but instead is primitive sea goddess.The RPG Icon 16x36.png

Ancient Guardians

Main article: Ancient Guardian

The Ancient Guardians are demigods of Azeroth.

Elune

Elune - Elune is the benevolent moon Goddess of the night elves. She is one of the few full deities on Azeroth, the personification of the White Lady, and one of the Ancient Guardian. The tauren refer to her as Mu'sha, the Left Eye of the Earthmother. She is the counterpart to An'she.[16][17]

An'she

An'she is a male sun deity in tauren mythology, the right Eye of the Earthmother and the counterpart to the goddess Mu'sha (Elune), the moon. It gives the Sunwalkers, the tauren paladins, their power and acts much like the Light, wherever he is not the light is unknown.

Loas

Main article: Loa

The Loas are primal troll gods, each representing a different animal or domain.

Elemental Lords, the elemental spirits and other elementals

Former servants of the evil Old Gods, the Elemental Lords once ruled Azeroth. Yet when the titans defeated the Old Gods, they banished the Elemental Lords and all elementals to a planar prison known now as the Elemental Plane.

Draenor seems to have it's own version of the elemental lords of which only Cyrukh is known:

The shamans draw their power from five natural elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and the Wilds. The Elemental Spirits are primordial elementals which embody these elements. They do not appear to be connected with the Old Gods, nor do they appear connected to their Elemental lieutenants. The Spirits communicate with the shamans through trances, dreams, images and emotions. Their exact motivations remain unknown, and it is unclear whether they act according to some grander design, or whether they act in reaction to events that threaten the balance. Each World seems it's own version of the 5 elemental spirits.[18]

There is one elemental that differs from all other Murmur the Primordial essence of sound

  • IconSmall SoundLord.gif Murmur - the essence of sound

Dragon Aspects

Before leaving Azeroth, the titans empowered five dragons with tremendous power. They were to serve as Aspects, guardians over the world, together with their dragonflight. After the great Cataclysm they became mortal.

Mortals

These are mortals that have been claimed to be Eternals.

Notes

  • The term "eternal" was coined by Bob Fitch and Chris Metzen because “immortal” didn’t feel right and “divine” also felt a bit awkward, although it was used in Warcraft III for units such as Cenarius (Whitewolf Quarterly, Fall 2004).
  • All eternals are immortal, but not all immortals are eternals.
  • Any dragon, elemental, fey, humanoid, monstrous humanoid, outsider, or undead could potentially become an eternal.[8]
  • Note that in the RPG game, contacting an eternal is the same as an Outer Plane demigod for the purpose of the Contact Other Plane ability. No beings are generally more powerful than eternals in the Warcraft universe, so making contact with a "lesser deity" or anything more powerful than a demigod is impossible.[20]

References