Lei Shen

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For strategy on the Throne of Thunder encounter, see Lei Shen (tactics).
Not to be confused with Lei Shi.
NeutralLei Shen
Image of Lei Shen
Title Emperor of the Mogu, Thunder King
Gender Male
Race Mogu (Humanoid)
Affiliation(s) The First Dynasty
Occupation First Emperor of the Mogu
Location Throne of Thunder, Isle of Thunder
Status

Killable MoP

Deceased (lore)
Relative(s) Unnamed warlord (father)
Companion(s) Sparkmancer Vu (advisor)
Throne of Thunder

Jin'rokh the Breaker
Horridon
Council of Elders
Tortos
Megaera
Ji-Kun
Durumu the Forgotten
Primordius
Dark Animus
Iron Qon
Twin Consorts
Lei Shen
Ra-den (Heroic only)

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Loot
"Pandaria, her hills of gold, in dark and mournful times of old, did once a hopeless horror hold.
When from her sacred vale did spring, with storm and flash, a monstrous thing, his name Lei Shen, the Thunder King..."
Lorewalker Cho

Emperor Lei Shen, (pronounced LAY-shen) also known as the Thunder King, was the first emperor of the mogu. After stealing the power of storms from the titanic watcher Ra, Lei Shen united the mogu clans into the first great mogu empire. Able to defeat even an August Celestial in combat, none were able to stop his goals of unifying Pandaria. During his rule, Lei Shen made several significant changes and contributions to Pandaria. The construction of the Serpent's Spine, the barrier separating the dreaded mantid from the rest of Pandaria's races, is often cited as his greatest achievement.

Recently, the Thunder King was resurrected by the mogu's Zandalari allies and attempted to unify the mogu once again, serving as the main antagonist in patch 5.2. However, the combined Shado-Pan, Alliance, and Horde assault on the Isle of Thunder put an end to Lei Shen's rule once and for all.

Biography

Early life

Young Lei Shen was born the son of a warlord during the terrible Age of a Hundred Kings.[1] Born into the same tribe, Lei Shen and Sparkmancer Vu grew as close as brothers. As children, they played, quarreled, and challenged one another. It is said that this early rivalry was instrumental in developing Lei Shen's thirst for power.[2] Despite seeing the mogu's infighting and squabbling as a betrayal of their great potential, Lei Shen remained a stalwart vassal of his father. A close advisor eventually betrayed and murdered Lei Shen's father, causing the clan to fall apart and seek refuge with other warlords, leaving Lei Shen and a handful of loyal guardsmen behind. The young mogu chose to go into exile rather than continue the fighting, meditating and wandering the land. Most mogu saw Lei Shen's meditations as a sign of madness and proof that he would never threaten any mogu ever again.[3]

The power of Ra-den

Like his brothers, Lei Shen was strong of arm and fluent in the ways of war. But unlike others of his generation, he spoke of more than conquest. The legends of his forefathers were etched into his heart. Once Lei Shen had come of age and commanded his own legions, he announced his intent to awaken the gods.[1] After years of searching, the warlord found the entrance to the hidden vaults beneath the lands north of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.[3] What he found therein was illuminating: the titanic watcher Ra, who stood guard over a powerful titan device, the Engine of Nalak'sha.[4]

The Highkeeper showed no reaction upon seeing Lei Shen, even as the mogu began asking him questions about the mogu's purpose. Weeks passed, and Lei Shen grew more and more frustrated, and still, Ra said nothing. When the mogu realized that Ra was not contemplating some grand plan, but had simply given up hope, Lei Shen unleashed his anger upon the keeper, accusing him of abandoning the work of the titans. The harsh words finally woke Ra fom his stupor, and the highkeeper brought the mogu to the nearby Thundering Mountain. There, Ra-den summoned the lingering spirit of Aman'Thul, Highfather of the Pantheon. The revelation that the Pantheon were dead did not, however, cause Lei Shen to fall into despair like Ra had. Instead, the mogu decided that if the Pantheon were dead and their servant refused to continue their work, he would do so himself. Without warning, Lei Shen incapacitated Ra, bound the keeper in great chains, and stole not only the keeper's power, but also the power of Aman'Thul.[5] It is said that the mogu tore out the very heart of the mogu god. And from that hateful act, he gained power over wind and storm.

His followers fell to their knees before him. "We will call you 'The Lightning King'", they said. But Lei Shen did not agree. "Lightning strikes in an instant and is over in a flash," he said. "But thunder. Thunder! Thunder proclaims the coming of the storm. Thunder quakes the skies long before the lightning strikes, and thunder echoes in the hills long after lightning's power is spent. It is thunder that sends animals cowering and fills the hearts of peasants with dread. Let thunder be my herald, so that my power is felt throughout the land. I will be... The Thunder King."[6] He declared the Thundering Mountain to be his seat of power and atop its summit he built a majestic and forbidden city.[7]

Conquest of Pandaria

Armed with the power of storms, Lei Shen, now known as the Thunder King, gathered together his followers and rose to power "the mogu way", eliminating his rivals one by one.[8] Most did not submit to his authority: the lucky ones were vaporized by lightning or trampled by his growing legions. The others were dragged off in chains until he deemed them "broken". But many mogu saw in Lei Shen the unity of purpose that had been lacking in the generations since their masters had fallen silent. They flocked around the Thunder King's banner and eagerly did his bidding as he enslaved the other races, believing - as Lei Shen did - that the "lesser" races should serve the mogu, just as the mogu had once served their masters.[9]

The jinyu and the hozen

The Thunder King came to regard all living beings within his domain as his servants, and decided to conquer the two empires of the jinyu and hozen, two races who had settled around the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Though the jinyu fought valiantly, they ultimately crumbled before the might of Lei Shen.[3] In one battle, the mogu Haqin ensured victory against the jinyu waterspeakers by using the fish-men's own spears against them. Afterwards, the Thunder King presented Haqin with a hundred of the finest golden spears crafted by mogu forgemasters, and Haqin became one of Lei Shen's greatest lieutenants.[10] On the eve of the jinyu's stand against Lei Shen, they were betrayed by their allies, the hozen, who had pledged their loyalties to the Thunder King in the false belief that they would receive preferential treatment under the Thunder King's reign (a promise that was never kept by Lei Shen nor his successors).[3]

The Duel of Thunder and Strength

Lei Shen and Xuen.

When the Thunder King needed slaves to build the cities and fortresses of his empire, he marched on Kun-Lai Summit. Faced with a defiant populace, Lei Shen made a declaration: if a warrior could best him in one on one combat, he would depart and leave those lands in peace. If he won, however, the people of those lands would submit to his rule. The Thunder King's challenge was accepted by Xuen, the White Tiger, who had seen the plight of the free peoples and could bear it no more. The legendary figures fought for thirty days and thirty nights as lightning fell from the skies and the ground rumbled with their fury. In the end, Xuen fell to Lei Shen's unearthly power. "Your peasant magic is no match for my sorcery, fool of a tiger," Lei Shen bellowed. "I commend your tenacity, but your defiance must be punished." To the people of Kun-Lai, the Thunder King proclaimed: "Know this, those who would defy me shall witness the full power of my wrath! This creature shall not know the mercy of death. In these mountains we shall build a prison for him to stand upon for all of time. From this pinnacle, he shall watch and bask in his failure, as you and your children shall serve my empire as slaves."[11]

Sparkmancer Vu served as the Thunder King's most trusted advisor. Despite their early rivalry, Vu fought fiercely to help Lei Shen win the throne of Pandaria. Not long after Lei Shen gained reknown, the Stormlord was captured by enemy assassins and his tongue was cut out. Popular opinion suspected the Thunder King himself was ultimately behind this plot, a political move to silence the one mogu who knew his deepest secrets. Their brotherhood was also the source of much conjecture and fiction. The peasant masses enjoyed writing stories, including a famous saga about their feud over a woman. Despite these rumors, history shows that Stormlord Vu never wavered from his commitment to his Emperor; he served his friend and brother loyally to the end of his days.[2]

Reign of the Thunder King

After his rise to power, he built the Mogu'shan Vaults to contain and protect his secrets, and converted the surrounding structure into a sort of shrine dedicated to the mogu empire. The complex houses many of the empire's lost artifacts and is the resting place of the spirits of old mogu kings.[8]

Emperor Lei Shen unified the language, established a single currency and standardized weight and measures.[9] He also created the first set of written laws in all of Azeroth, written in the unified language. The brutal codes enshrined the mogu's place above all other creatures,[3] and the first rule was that sedition, insurrection and rebellion be punished by public evisceration.[12] The Thunder King saw great potential in the pandaren, and for this reason he did not trust them. After he conquered the land, the pandaren were forbidden to learn to read or write. Their leaders and philosophers were executed and all pandaren art and literature was burned.[13]

As he began to unify his people under a single banner and subjugate the other races of Pandaria, Lei Shen knew that the mantid, with all their strength, would never bow to his authority. He commanded his slaves to construct the Serpent's Spine, a magnificent wall that spanned the length of the empire. It took many generations to build, but Lei Shen knew that fear would motivate his subjects. The fear of the mantid moved mountains, raised armies, secured his empire, and built his wall.[14]

Every soldier of his army wore a jade badge with the symbol of a crown and crossed lightning bolts.[15] The elite warriors formed a group called the Emperor's Shield.[16]

In the one-hundred-and-seventieth year of the Thunder King's reign, the Korune spellweavers came to Lei Shen with their greatest creation. A bell cast from the makers' flesh, shaped by stars' fire, and bound by the breath of darkest shadow. This bell, when rung, could shake the world and call to the heavens. Taken to war, the bell's cacophonous tones stirred the hearts of Lei Shen's warriors. It fueled their hatred and anger, lending them strength on the field of battle. The bell's screaming voice struck fear and doubt into the hearts of the Emperor's enemies, sending them fleeing in his path.

Awed by its power, the Thunder King described the instrument as "the voice of the gods," and named it Shenqing, the Divine Bell.[17]

At some point Lei Shen discovered a rare clutch of thundering cloud serpents, and set to subjugating them. The largest hatchling fiercely resisted, and when Lei Shen visited the handling pens, he laughed mightily at the charred mogu that lined the walls. He took the hatchling for his own, and for its obedience, granted it power over the storms and the sky. For thousands of years following the death of the Thunder King, Nalak has guarded the walls of his hidden citadel, awaiting his return.[18]

During his reign, Lei Shen labored to build a mechanical servant that would defend his citadel without fear. When his first attempt failed, rage took hold of the Thunder King. He poured this negative emotion into his next, and most successful, creation: the Dark Animus.[19] At the Thunder King's behest, a young cloud serpent was twisted into the fiercesome hydra Megaera.[20] The fearless mogu commander Qon was dubbed "Iron Qon" by the Thunder King for his unrelenting resolve to claim victory after victory for the empire regardless of the cost.[21]

Lei Shen also commanded his sorcerers to mold an aberration that could peer into the hearts of his followers and detect betrayal. From this decree, Durumu was given life.[22]

Lei Shen forged an alliance between the mogu and Zandalar tribe of trolls, led by Zulathra, and this alliance would last millennia, long after Lei Shen had passed on. Lei Shen made a promise to them: a large plot of land near the Vale of Eternal Blossoms would forever belong to the trolls. Lei Shen, not trusting his mogu underlings to resurrect him if killed, also told the Zandalari trolls the secret to his resurrection.[3]

Death

The Tomb of Emperor Lei Shen.

According to a Pandaren legend told by Loh-Ki, Lei Shen died after a great battle in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, in which the mogu armies were overcome by brave monks. In his final moments, Lei Shen summoned an otherwordly storm that blanketed the vale for several days. The storm washed the blood of the fallen into Whitepetal Lake, which burned crimson and gave rise to Alani the Stormborn.[23]

In truth, Lei Shen had decided to claim Uldum and the titan machinery therein as part of his empire, and led a great army of mogu and Zandalari trolls to conquer it. The tol'vir, knowing that they could never defeat him in battle, instead used the Forge of Origination to scour the surrounding land, killing Lei Shen and his entire army, as well as Zulathra and most of the Zandalari leadership - a blow from which they never fully recovered. Though the Thunder King was dead, his fall had come at a heavy cost: all life in the area was snuffed out - including many of the tol'vir - leaving Uldum a cracked, lifeless desert. The Thunder King's surviving loyalists recovered his corpse and buried him in the Tomb of Conquerors.[3]

Years after the Thunder King's death and near the end of the Zandalari Troll Wars, the leader of the invading Zandalari armies, Mengazi - a descendant of Zulathra - realized that the trolls were losing against the pandaren and their cloud serpent riders, and decided to fulfill the ancient prophecy and resurrect Lei Shen. A pitched battle erupted at the Tomb of Conquerors, where the Thunder King's body was enshrined. The trolls' efforts to resurrect Lei Shen were thwarted, as Jiang sacrificed herself to kill Mengazi, sending the Zandalari fleeing back to Zandalar.[3]

Resurrection and fall

MoP This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.

Recently, the Zandalari along with the allied troll tribes rekindled with the mogu and found Emperor Lei Shen's body buried inside the Tomb of Conquerors in Valley of Emperors along with his army. The trolls have taken the body to the Isle of Reckoning and the Thunder King was resurrected by Prophet Khar'zul.

The Thunder King and his mogu warriors.

The Thunder King returned to his island stronghold. He gathered most of the mogu clans and the Zandalari to his throne, forming a ruthless army capable of crushing Pandaria. He quickly encountered opposition, however, from the Shado-Pan Assault, the Kirin Tor Offensive, and the Sunreaver Onslaught.

Lei Shen rewarded the most loyal and ambitious Zandalari trolls with power beyond their wildest dreams. The berserker Jin'rokh was one of the first to receive the King's blessing.[24]

The Thunder King's legions were eventually defeated, and Lei Shen himself was slain at the Pinnacle of Storms. Jaina Proudmoore had what remained of his power drained into the  [Staff of Antonidas], transforming it into the  [Storm-Stave of Antonidas].[25] The  [Heart of the Thunder King] was brought to Wrathion, who wanted to know how and why the mogu came to be. Wrathion ultimately ate the heart to prevent Lei Shen from ever being resurrected again.[26] Without a central leader, the surviving mogu dispersed.

Personality

A statue of Lei Shen in the Hall of Kings.

Lei Shen himself believed that he was continuing the work of the Titans, and that the mogu could only find meaning and purpose when united under a single emperor, as they had once been united under the rule of their ancient master. In the Thunder King's own words, he sought only to finish... the work of the Gods....[27] Unlike others of his generation, he spoke of more than conquest. The legends of his forefathers were etched into his heart.[1] When Lei Shen first rose to power, young and proud, he saw the ruined works of his forefathers scattered across the war-torn landscape and lived with a profound sense that his people were not living up to their purpose or potential. The titans no longer spoke, and so Lei Shen took it upon himself to speak for them.[28] After he returned from the Thundering Mountain, armed with the powers of Ra-den, many mogu saw in Lei Shen the unity of purpose that had been lacking in the generations since their masters had fallen silent. They flocked around the Thunder King's banner. They eagerly did his bidding as he enslaved the other races, believing - as Lei Shen did - that the "lesser" races should serve the mogu, just as the mogu had once served their masters. The Thunder King considered the subsequent suffering of the other races a small price to pay — a mere weakness of the flesh.[9]

The values held by Lei Shen is best exemplified through the royal edicts placed around the Isle of Thunder: that to be mogu is to rule, and that it is the mogu's birthright to rule Pandaria. Those who do not bend to the mogu's will must be broken by their strength. The Thunder King believed that there is no strength without unity, that there is no unity without obedience, and that obedience to the emperor and demanding obedience of the lesser races is the natural way of things; that there is an order to the world best expressed through the strength flowing from the emperor down to the very stones of the earth. In his own words: When you fight amongst yourselves you fight against your very nature.[29]

Equipment

Emperor Lei Shen wielded a spear, an axe and wore a helm into every battle. They were the finest works of Forgemaster Deng, who worked and personally oversaw the great Thunder Forge. The Forgemaster crafted and especially gifted the set to Lei Shen just before the master blacksmith's death.[30] His helm became so well-known that his enemies would flee at the mere sight of it, and his spear murdered thousands of innocents. It is said that he could throw his axe with brutal accuracy, and when it hit its target it made a sound like crashing thunder. When the emperor died, the mogu placed his helm in the very bottom of the Guo-Lai Halls, surrounded by thousands of terracotta soldiers. Thus, they could look upon their leader and follow him into death.[31][32][33]

Quotes

  • "Lightning strikes in an instant and is over in a flash. But thunder. Thunder! Thunder proclaims the coming of the storm. Thunder quakes the skies long before the lightning strikes, and thunder echoes in the hills long after lightning's power is spent. It is thunder that sends animals cowering and fills the hearts of peasants with dread. Let thunder be my herald, so that my power is felt throughout the land. I will be... The Thunder King."[6] (Said in response to his followers calling him the "Lightning King")
  • "Know this, those who would defy me shall witness the full power of my wrath! This creature shall not know the mercy of death. In these mountains we shall build a prison for him to stand upon for all of time. From this pinnacle, he shall watch and bask in his failure, as you and your children shall serve my empire as slaves."[11] (Said to the people of Kun-Lai Summit after besting the White Tiger in combat)
  • "Today, a star leaves earth and ascends to the heavens."[30] (Said at the burial ceremony of Forgemaster Deng)
  • "What has become of my mogu? Look at yourselves. You are little better than the savages we once used to build our cities. To be mogu is to rule. It is why we were created. Our words are laced with power! Those who do not bend to our will must be broken by our strength. There is no strength without unity. There is no unity without obedience. To obey your Emperor and demand obedience of your subjects is the natural order. When you fight amongst yourselves you fight against your very nature. There is an order to this world, a strength that flows from your emperor down to the very stones of the earth. Do not forget this. Together our voices shall echo across the land like the clap of a thunder before a storm. You are that storm! Rise mogu! And reclaim your birthright as rightful rulers of this land!"[29]
  • "Hear now the edict of the Thunder King! With my resurrection, the Zandalari have repaid an ancient debt. Our fates are ever intertwined. As their empire falls, so ours shall rise again. They have pledged ships, soldiers, and beasts to our cause. Once we have reclaimed our lands, they will be granted generous holdings along the northern coast. Our allies may be small, but do not dismiss their strength or skills with the arcane arts. They have experience fighting these "Horde" and "Alliance" invaders that will be of use to us. United, trolls and mogu will achieve untold power over the lesser creatures. We will build as it once was, and was always destined to be!"[34]

Throne of Thunder

Main article: Lei Shen (tactics)#Quotes
  • You have swept the filth from my doorstep. Perhaps you are worthy of my attention. But your trespass ends here. None may enter my forbidden stronghold. I shall rebuild this bridge with your bones for bricks. (At the Stormbridge)
  • I am Lei Shen, slayer of kings and gods. You have made a grave mistake.
  • I sought only to finish... the work of the Gods... (Last words)

About him

  • "Pandaria, her hills of gold, in dark and mournful times of old, did once a hopeless horror hold. When from her sacred vale did spring, with storm and flash, a monstrous thing, his name, Lei Shen, the Thunder King. His thunder boomed across the land, and none who dared and fought could stand against the iron tyrant's hand. A palace grand, a walled domain, such mighty works born of his reign... built by slaves, their hearts in chains. But seasons change and tyrants die, his fury spent in times gone by. The thunder slept beneath Kun-Lai. By Zandalari hands he has been taken. By Zandalari voice he has awakened. Gather heroes, sound the drums, the Thunder King comes, the Thunder King comes..." — Lorewalker Cho[35]

Trivia

  • Originally, his first death was "presumably [...] of old age."[36] The actual cause of Lei Shen's first death was revealed in World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1.
  • At some point, Lei Shen killed Monara, the Last Queen of the mogu.[37]
  • A very small group believe that the giant eel G'nathus was once Lei Shen's pet fish, empowered by years of proximity to the Thunder King and flushed down into the contaminated sewers beneath the Throne of Thunder.[38]
  • He is the inspiration behind the product name of  ["Thunder King" Pest Repellers].
  • Lei Shen (雷神, Léishén) is a Chinese Taoist deity whose name means "Thunder God."
  • Lei Shen is most likely inspired by Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. Like Lei Shen, he united the empire, unified the language, defined the laws, established a single currency and standardized weight and measurements. He outlawed books and killed scholars to ensure the stability of his reign. He also commissioned the Great Wall of China to protect his empire against intrusions.
    • The fact that the Throne of Thunder was described as a "majestic and forbidden city"[7] also draws parallels to the Forbidden City in Beijing.
  • Lei Shen is voiced by Paul Nakauchi.[39][40]
  • When referring to himself as the "slayer of kings and gods", Lei Shen was referring to Ra and was actually just bragging.[41]
  • In Heroes of the Storm, Chen has a skin called "Warmaster Chen", which depicts an alternate reality in which Lei Shen sought to conquer the Well of Eternity. The description reads "The Warmasters serve as the unbreakable front line of Lei Shen's Grand Army. Once the Kaldorei are broken before him, the Well of Eternity will belong to the Thunder King forever."
  • In a one on one fight with the Lich King, Lei Shen would win. However, if the Scourge battled Lei Shen's army, Lei Shen's army would lose.[42]

Videos

Patch changes

References

  1. ^ a b c Lei Shen (object)
  2. ^ a b Sparkmancer Vu epitaph
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1
  4. ^ The Characters of Warcraft/Lei Shen
  5. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 80-81
  6. ^ a b N [90] Rumbles of Thunder
  7. ^ a b The Sacred Mount
  8. ^ a b Blizzard Insider #45 – Mists of Pandaria – Raid Preview
  9. ^ a b c Unity at a Price
  10. ^ Haqin of the Hundred Spears epitath
  11. ^ a b The Duel of Thunder and Strength
  12. ^  [Edicts of the Thunder King]
  13. ^ The Pandaren Problem
  14. ^ The Thunder King
  15. ^  [Thunder King Insignia]
  16. ^ N [88] Breaking the Emperor's Shield
  17. ^  [Weathered Journal]
  18. ^ Adventure Guide entry for Nalak
  19. ^ Adventure Guide entry for Dark Animus
  20. ^ Adventure Guide entry for Megaera
  21. ^ Adventure Guide entry for Iron Qon
  22. ^ Adventure Guide entry for Durumu the Forgotten
  23. ^ Alani's origin as told by Loh-Ki
  24. ^ Adventure Guide entry for Jin'rokh the Breaker
  25. ^ A [90R] Securing A Future
  26. ^ N [90] Heart of the Thunder King
  27. ^ Lei Shen (tactics)#Quotes
  28. ^ Age of a Hundred Kings
  29. ^ a b Edict of the Thunder King
  30. ^ a b Forgemaster Deng epitaph
  31. ^ N [90] Battle Helm of the Thunder King
  32. ^ N [90] Battle Axe of the Thunder King
  33. ^ N [90] Battle Spear of the Thunder King
  34. ^ The Zandalar Agreement
  35. ^ Patch 5.2.0 trailer
  36. ^ Icon-youtube-22x22.png Gamebreaker interviews Blizzard's Dave Kosak on Patch 5.2: The Thunder King, 4:49 - 5:20
  37. ^ N [93] Requiem for a Queen
  38. ^ Blizzard Entertainment Crithto. Major Payne’s Pet Menagerie: Spawn of G’nathus. Retrieved on 2016-11-23.
  39. ^ Andrea Toyias on Twitter (2014-05-22).
  40. ^ Russell Brower on Twitter (2014-05-20).
  41. ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter
  42. ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter
Preceded by:
None
Position:
Emperor of the Mogu
Succeeded by:
Dojan Firecrown
Preceded by:
Xin the Weaponmaster(as king)
Emperor Lao-Fe (as previous emperor)
Position:
Emperor of the Mogu
Succeeded by:
None