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- For the Paladin ability, see . For the Pet Battle ability, see .
- "No one feels he deserves it... its grace, pure and simple... but the Light loves us anyway."
- —Uther the Lightbringer to Arthas Menethil.
The Light (also known as the Holy Light, Holy Light of Creation and light of Creation) is an endless, shimmering sea of energy situated outside the barriers of reality and one of the two most fundamental forces in the world of Warcraft along with the Void, which was born from the absence of the former. The two cannot exist without the other.
Pure Light cannot exist within the physical universe but shades of it manifest as holy magic. The Light is the source of all life in the cosmos. Summoned by willpower or faith in one's ability to do so, the powers of the Light can be harnessed to heal, cleanse, protect, or harm. Most of its practitioners are called priests or paladins, devoted to cleansing the universe of darkness. Learning to wield this healing force takes years of discipline.
Its positive energies, residing in every living being, in every heart and soul, is everywhere, binding all sentient beings together as one. The naaru, enigmatic beings composed of shards of fractured Light, may be the purest expression of the Light in the physical universe. They taught the use of the Light to the draenei and other enlightened races, but others have come into the study and practice of Light-based magic of their own accord.
- 1 Origins and characteristics
- 2 Effects
- 3 Uses
- 4 Influence
- 5 Worship
- 6 In the RPG
- 7 Trivia
- 8 Speculation
- 9 References
Origins and characteristics
Before life began and before even the universe existed, there was only the Light. The Light existed as a boundless sea of living energy, swelling across all of existence, unfettered by time and space. Yet as the ever-shifting sea expanded, pockets of cold nothingness appeared, giving birth to a second, opposite force: the Void. The growing tension between the two opposing energies eventually ignited a series of cosmic explosions that gave birth to the physical universe, the Great Dark Beyond.
The cataclysmic birth of the cosmos sent shards of fractured Light flying through the cosmos, suffusing the newly formed planets of the universe with the spark of life and giving birth to countless life-forms, the most common of which were the primordial elementals. Occasionally, these shards of Light would gather and form clouds of Light from which powerful beings would emerge, among which the benevolent naaru.
Not all wielders of the the Holy Light follow the same path. For example, humans follow the path of the Church, while the tauren Sunwalkers revere An'she. Blood elves wield the Light through the power of the renewed Sunwell. It is a harmonious relationship, no longer one of discord caused by the blood elves' attempts to bend the Light to their will, which will likely have a positive effect on blood elf society in the long run.
On living beings
The Light is often said to bring about feelings of positive emotion—hope, courage, comfort—coming from the "heart." During the ritual that empowers paladins, the Light shines down on them and through them with blinding radiance. It warms at first, then sears. The person feels scoured; emptied, scrubbed clean, then filled again. The Light swells inside and then fades away to a tolerable level.
The Light is agonizingly painful and destructive to the undead. Turalyon for example used the Light for interrogating Gaz Soulripper, causing him excruciating pain. Ashra on the contrary used the Light to heal the Forsaken Felgrim, it was an efficient process but it was painful.
The souls of the undead (Forsaken, death knights, ghouls, etc.) are imperfectly attached to their bodies; the dark magic that sustains them is a buffer that prevents their souls from properly joining with their bodies. This is why undead feel only faint sensations of pain or discomfort from most physical stimuli, and why the Light is so painful to their existence.
When undead channel the Light, they do not disintegrate or explode from channeling the Light, though they may wish they would. Instead, it feels to them as if their entire bodies are being consumed in righteous fire. Forsaken healed by the Light (whether the healer is Forsaken or not) are effectively cauterized by the effect: the wound is healed, but the healing effect is cripplingly painful. Thus, Forsaken priests are beings of unwavering willpower. Forsaken and death knight tanks suffer nobly when they have priest or paladin healers in the group, and Sir Zeliek really hates himself.
There are reports that some Forsaken have slowly experienced a sharpening of their dulled senses of touch, smell, etc., as well as an increase in the flashes of positive emotions that have otherwise become so rare since their fall into undeath. Unfortunately, this may be the cause of the Forsaken priesthood's increased attempts at self-destruction; regaining these senses would force the priests to smell their own rotting flesh, taste the decay in their mouths and throats, and even feel the maggots burrowing within their bodies.
- The power of the Holy Light magnified Turalyon's voice so it carried to everyone under his command.
- The powers of the Light allow its practitioners to heal wounds and even restore life to the dead. They can also shield them from damage, cure ills and magical curses, rejuvenate from fatigue and tiredness and remove beneficial magical effects from their enemies. The Light always brings a sense of peace and calmness whenever its blessings are placed on someone. Wielders of the Light can also use Holy magic to smite their enemies. Paladins can augment their own martial prowess as well as those who fight at their side with the Light's blessings. Holy Power can also weaken the martial prowess of their foes.
- In Tides of Darkness, the Light was used for interrogation purpose by making someone to tell all they know, although the subject moved to immense grief afterwards. The Light was also used to put the deceased to rest. A'dal for example sent Crusader Bridenbrad to the Light itself. When Turalyon blessed the corpse of Anduin Lothar with the Light, his features were described as "relaxed slightly, growing calm, even quietly content".
- Turalyon placed a message inside , using a Light-based hologram.
The Light is an important part of several races' cultures. Though overlap exists in themes and practices, several of the races have differing viewpoints and methods of wielding the Light. One thing is certain, wielding the Light takes intense focus and a very powerful belief.
The Skettis Outcasts are arakkoa who shunned the teachings of the corrupted Anzu and embraced the Light taught by the naaru A'dal. Kirrik the Awakened and those like him found a great devotion in the Light. Most of these arakkoa are affiliated with the Lower City.
This section concerns content exclusive to Warlords of Draenor.
The high arakkoa of the alternate timeline Draenor worship Rukhmar and the sun, similar in ways to how the tauren worship An'she. Unlike the tauren, the Adherents of Rukhmar are fanatically devoted to showing how the sun and the Light favor them over all other races and are genocidal supremacists. They also used Apexis crystals and devices to channel the Light's power into lasers and apexis golems. The Arakkoa Outcasts are incapable of using the light due to the corruption in their bodies, similar to how draenei cannot wield the Light when they become Broken.
Before the Third War, high elf priests and paladins were known to have been practitioners of the Holy Light in the same vein as humans and dwarves — some, such as Mehlar Dawnblade, despite their race's general seclusion, were even part of the original Knights of the Silver Hand order. The high elves also had their own priesthood chapters back home in Quel'Thalas, though these were less prominent than their magic-users.
Many of the Light-wielding elves suffered a mass loss of faith during and after the Scourge invasion of Quel'Thalas, in which 90% of their people were slaughtered and their kingdom was sacked. Renaming themselves the blood elves, many of them swore off the Light, condemning it as a fickle thing that had faltered in the defense of their people during the undead onslaught.
When Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider and his blood elves conquered Tempest Keep, they discovered a lone naaru who had stayed behind to maintain the keep's defenses. With some difficulty, Kael'thas subdued the M'uru and sent it to Quel'Thalas so that the magic-addicted blood elves could feed upon it.
After long months of study and experimentation, Magister Astalor Bloodsworn and his fellow wizards learned how to manipulate and corrupt the naaru's luminous energies. In the end the sorcerers devised a process by which the powers of the Light could be transferred to recipients who had not earned such abilities. Instead of feeding upon the naaru's magic, the blood elves would wield the naaru's Light-given powers themselves.
Lady Liadrin, formerly a priestess, had recently renounced her vows, for she felt the Light had abandoned her people. She volunteered to be the first to bend the powers stolen from M'uru to her will. With her decision, a new order was born: the Blood Knights. Most members of the Blood Knights were once part of the Royal Guard – proud defenders of high elven society who came to believe that the Light had failed them in their hour of greatest need. They saw their appropriation of the captive naaru's powers as well-deserved justice.
Eventually, M'uru was abducted and defeated by adventurers, and his heart was used by Velen to purify and restore the Sunwell as a fount of both holy and arcane energy. Blood elves who wield the Light now do so through the power of the renewed Sunwell. It is a harmonious relationship, no longer one of discord caused by the blood elves' attempts to bend the Light to their will.
Nearly twenty-five thousand years ago, the eredar race arose on the world of Argus. They were extremely intelligent and had a natural affinity for magic in all its myriad forms. Using their gifts, they developed a vast and wondrous society. Unfortunately the eredar's accomplishments caught the attention of Sargeras, the Destroyer of Worlds. He had already begun his Burning Crusade to eradicate all life from the cosmos, and he believed that the brilliant eredar would be pivotal in leading the vast demonic army he was gathering. Thus, he contacted the eredar's three most prominent leaders: Kil'jaeden, Archimonde, and Velen. In exchange for the loyalty of the eredar race, Sargeras offered untold power and knowledge.
Although the offer sounded very tempting, Velen had a vision of the future that filled him with sick dread. Sargeras had spoken the truth: the eredar who joined the Dark Titan would indeed gain enormous power and knowledge. However, the eredar would themselves be transformed into demons. Velen saw the Legion in all its terrible might and witnessed the destruction it would wreak upon all of creation. He hastened to warn Kil'jaeden and Archimonde, but they dismissed his concerns, for they had been enticed by Sargeras' promises. They gave Sargeras their allegiance and were transformed into colossal beings of depthless evil. The sheer power that Sargeras commanded made direct opposition unthinkable.
Velen nearly despaired, but his prayer for help was overheard. A being came to Velen and explained that it was one of the naaru, a race of sentient energy beings bent on stopping the Burning Crusade. The naaru offered to take Velen and any other like-minded eredar to safety. Deeply relieved, Velen gathered the other eredar who had thus far refused to join Sargeras. Naming themselves the draenei, or "exiled ones" in the Eredun language, the renegades barely escaped from Argus, with the Burning Legion only moments behind. Kil'jaeden was furious with what he felt was Velen's betrayal, and the demon vowed to hunt Velen and the rest of the draenei to the ends of the cosmos if need be. The Legion chased the draenei for many thousands of years. The draenei visited many worlds and explored much of the known cosmos in their quest to find safe harbor. Still the Legion would not give up its pursuit. Meanwhile, the enigmatic naaru race blessed the draenei with Light-given knowledge and power.
Draenei serve the Light as either a Vindicator, an Anchorite, or a priest are some of the most common profession choices for the draenei. The draenei prophet, Velen, is also a staunch practitioner of the Light, and the high vindicator has a seat as an Exarch.
Unlike the humans and dwarves, whose knowledge of the Light is tied mainly to religious sects, and the blood elves, who usually channel their powers through the Sunwell, the draenei have a more direct link to it through their relationship with the naaru. One of Prophet Velen's ultimate goals is to form a prophecized Army of the Light against the Legion, a grand Light-based coalition of all manner of races. The draenei also have an explicit priesthood in the Aldor, an ancient order of draenei priests and priestesses once led by Velen himself, calling themselves the "keepers of the Light."
Of Azeroth's races, dwarves and humans seem to have the most in common in their worship of the Light, with few (if any) notable differences in their approach. Dwarven paladins are also inducted into the Knights of the Silver Hand, and can also be seen in the Argent Crusade.
In the early days of humanity and its civilization, many tribes of humans had primitive belief systems that incorporated simple nature magic. However, the rise of organized religion such as the Holy Light and the potent arcane magics introduced by the high elves quickly supplanted such traditions. Gilneas, due to its relative isolation, has retained a degree of their ancient culture in the contemporary era. The religious leaders of what was in Gilneas referred to as the "old ways" eventually became "harvest-witches"; those who used their nature powers to augment Gilneas' agricultural output during and following its period of industrialization.
The gnomes have had an interest in the Light since they joined the Alliance, but they were so focused on technology and, later, the retaking of Gnomeregan that studying the Light didn't feel necessary to them; the dwarven priests and paladins of Ironforge served as the only connection to the Light they needed. Now that the gnomes have reclaimed a foothold in Gnomeregan and begun rebuilding their culture outside of Ironforge, however, they've recognized the importance of having followers of the Light in their own ranks. In addition, researching new methods of purifying irradiated gnomes has led to radical advances in Light-based technology!
Yalia Sagewhisper has found the Light.
The Holy Light is a central part of civilized human society. It is the primary human religion and a staple of worship, respect, and honor in the societies of Stormwind and Lordaeron, both of whom have produced Light-wielders of note and renown. Human paladins of the Alliance often become members of the Knights of the Silver Hand, seeking to do justice across Azeroth, while other humans join the Argent Crusade. The humans were the first race on Azeroth to utilize the Light in an offensive manner through the creation of paladins, employing them against the Old Horde forces and then the Scourge. Human Light-wielders must abide by a strict code of moral conduct — instilled in them by teachings of the Church of the Holy Light — and face the gradual loss of their powers should they knowingly commit acts of evil.
Humans also founded the Scarlet Crusade, a branch of errant paladins and priests (among others) driven zealous in their war against the undead. Unlike the Silver Hand's emphasis on retribution through clarity and righteousness over vengeance, the Crusade is vicious, brutal, and indiscriminate in its cause: if one does not stand with the Scarlet Crusade, one is seen as a heretic. In spite of their attitude, the Scarlet Crusade genuinely believes that they are doing righteous work, and thus have not lost their connection to the Light.
The naaru are a race of living, sentient energy beings made up of shards of fractured Light. They are perhaps the purest expression of the Holy Light that exists in the Great Dark Beyond, and have vowed to bring peace and hope to all mortal civilizations and waylay the forces of the Void. They are known to travel through dimensions, and are the sworn enemies of the Burning Legion.
Though wielding the Light is most prominent among humans, dwarves, blood elves and draenei, other races also use the Light — or powers closely resembling the Light — through various means, though their relation to the above powers (all of which have fairly clear connections) are usually ambiguous. The tauren Sunwalkers draw upon the power of An'she to wield their Light powers, essentially believing this practice to be balancing out the night elves' worship of the moon. Night elven priestesses wield Light-esque abilities, though as priestesses of Elune rather than followers of the Holy Light. Prophet Velen believes there to be some striking similarities between the night elven goddess and the naaru, though this notion has been met with criticism. The undead, against their nature, also have access to priests, and at least one undead paladin exists. The act of channeling the Light is painful for the undead, but not impossible. Light-wielding Forsaken are fairly rare, and are somewhat antithetical to the prime Forsaken religion: the Cult of Forgotten Shadow.
In War of the Ancients Trilogy: The Sundering, Alexstrasza uses a healing magic that suspiciously similar to the Light to Korialstrasz. It bathes the Aspect in a golden radiance and its effect are described as calming to Malfurion and co., and eases their troubled minds. Krasus also conjures a golden energy shield to protect himself against Deathwing's magma breath in the same novel, which not unlike Power Word: Shield.
Church of the Holy Light
- Main article: Church of the Holy Light
It is unknown when the Church of Light began, but its clergy is renown for spreading goodness. The vocation of a priest is one of spiritual growth and contemplation. The priests of the Light heal and restore in times of peace, and protect in times of war. Paladins are the martial branch of the Church and seek to be an example of the Light's teachings as well as enforce its laws. These crusaders are called to protect the weak, to bring justice to the unjust, and to vanquish evil from the darkest corners of the world.
In all things, paladins must reflect the Light, which supplements our strength. To strive to be divine for one of our kind does not mean we strive for godhood--we strive to be good in all actions.
Although called upon to smite evil in these harsh times, you must always remember that it's aiding others that will truly set you apart from the other citizens. Compassion, patience, bravery--these things mean as much to a paladin as strength in battle.
Know this well, and never forget it.
Lordaeron was the home of the Church of the Light, influencing both Lordaeron and Quel'Thalas with its teachings. The Church birthed the Knights of the Silver Hand; but the Knights and the Holy Light were unable to stop the Scourge, as Lordaeron and the Knights fell underneath the decayed boots of the undead. The Church now has a new central location in Stormwind, but there is little in the form of organized study and worship of the Light on Kalimdor. The Draenei have also, apparently, followed the Light for over twenty-five thousand years, but little is known of how similar or different their practices may be to those of the Azerothian races.
Many remaining paladins who served the Silver Hand and now make their home in Kalimdor are attempting to form a new Church, but the going is slow. As the study of the Holy Light was more of a philosophical pursuit than a faith, the destroyed Church in Lordaeron resembled a library instead of a house of worship. Its texts were destroyed along with the Church, many of them burned, most of them buried under thousands of pounds of rubble. What with the wars, settling a new Alliance stronghold and dealing with frequent skirmishes, the remaining scholars and priests have found little time to work on transcribing old information into new books for initiates. Most young followers of the Holy Light learn by experience at the heel of a more experienced person instead of in libraries surrounded by texts.
Some self-appointed sages are taking up the mantle of rewriting the pontifications on the Holy Light, but there is no regulation or overseer. There are fresh looks at old ideas, as well as old ideas copied word for word by diligent old priests with perfect memories. As one would expect, sometimes these old scholars clash when someone realizes that the texts are beginning to contradict one another. This is the tension within the Church; younger priests feel the Third War gave the Holy Light a chance to renew itself just as the Alliance was renewing itself on Kalimdor, while others demand to keep the old traditions.
Secular citizens care little for the debates, but prefer that their rituals to remain the same. With everything around them changing, faith represents one of the few constants.
Many of these stations exist within the Church of the Holy Light, but some exist outside of that organization.
In the RPG
Followers of the Holy Light do not worship any gods or beings, the power comes from some benevolent force, known simply as the "Light".
- The Light can be used to heal and even raise the dead. This usage could be considered a form of necromancy.
- Ner'zhul realized that the Paladin Turalyon was not just a warrior, but akin to a shaman-except that the forces he tapped were somehow on a grander scale than a mere planet's.
- The Light made Arthas' hammer seem to weigh less in his hands.
- In a vision of what would happen if he accepted Sargeras' offer, Velen saw light radiate from him, but it was not the golden Holy Light, it was a sickly green.
- In the case of Lothraxion, it is shown that the Light can even alter demons and infuse them with Holy magic.
- In the older games, the Light was sometimes referred to as the "spirit of humanity", or the "spirit of mankind".
- The clerics of Northshire Abbey used to call the Light "God", however, "God" has lost its usage since then.
- Some Knights of the Silver Hand believed that after death, a mage's soul would be damned.
- The perspective of the practitioners of the Holy Light is closely linked to agathism in its philosophy, where the end result is good, even with the evil in between. It is also tied to holism, psychometrics (on oneself), humanistic psychology, transcendentalism, and theological overoptimism. The philosophy shows characteristics of real-world philosophies and religions, such as Transcendence, Pantheism, and the Society of Friends (Quakerism).
The Light has been personified many times, and there are many occurrences of people believing (possibly flavor lore) the Light had a "will", or that it made deliberate choices. This may be due to entities of Light as the Void is similarly described to have a "will", but actually comes from the void lords.
- Young High General Abbendis seemed to believe that the Light was some kind of sapient entity with a will. She believed that it called to her and that it was able to take notice of its believers' good deeds, works and prayers. She stated that the force of its voice had clarity and sense of purpose. However, the entity that called her may have been something else far more sinister, as she discussed in her diary that it commanded her to abandon the Scarlet Crusade to its doom, an act she believed was dishonorable.
- Others such as Revil Kost and Ambrose also believed that the Light was some kind of abstract deity that guided mortals for some benign purpose and all actions and fates were all constructs of its design.
- Tirion Fordring directly addressed the Light when he asked it to grant him one last blessing.
- There are human sayings such as "Light be with you" or draenei sayings such as "May the Light embrace you" and "Open your heart to the Light" or "Light protect us from this madness".
- The general belief was that mortals were chosen to act as vessels for the Light's will.
- ^ a b c Golden, Christie. Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, 62. ISBN 978-1439-15760-2.
- ^ a b Rosenberg, Aaron. Tides of Darkness. ISBN 978-1-4165-3990-2.
- ^ a b Rosenberg, Aaron; Christie Golden. Beyond the Dark Portal. ISBN 978-1-4165-5086-0.
- ^ The Burning Crusade Townhall: FAQ - Races
- ^ Sunwell Plateau epilogue
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 10
- ^ a b c d World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 18
- ^ a b c d Ask CDev - Round 1
- ^ a b DK Publishing. World of Warcraft: Ultimate Visual Guide, 21. ISBN 978-1-4654-1444-1.
- ^ Beyond the Dark Portal pg. 109
- ^ The Comic Volume 3: Secrets
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual pgs. 4-5
- ^ a b Tides of Darkness pg. 267
- ^ The Shattering pg. 552
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
- ^ World of Warcraft
- ^ a b Ask CDev - Round 3
- ^ Tides of Darkness
- ^ Bloodsworn
- ^ Nyorloth forum post
- ^ a b c d Ask CDev - Round 2
- ^ Beyond the Dark Portal pg. 212
- ^ Tides of Darkness, chapter 22
- ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter
- ^ The Burning Crusade Townhall/Shamans and Paladins
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 13
- ^ World of Warcraft: Paragons pg. 912
- ^ The Mechanar. Retrieved on 2016-03-18.
- ^ World of Warcraft: Ultimate Visual Guide
- ^ Johnson, Luke. "History and Culture", in Ellen P. Kiley: Alliance Player's Guide: 152. ISBN 1-58846-773-2.
- ^ Beyond the Dark Portal pg.617
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King pg. 140
- ^ Warcraft: Orcs & Humans manual, Azeroth Army of the First War, Cleric
- ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, Paladin Spells
- ^ Warcraft I manual#Cleric Spells
- ^ Knaak, Richard A.. Day of the Dragon, 19. ISBN 978-0-6710-4152-6.
- ^ Knaak, Richard A.. Day of the Dragon, 39. ISBN 978-0-6710-4152-6.
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, "The Will of the Void".
- ^ Dark Riders