Tol'vir

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Tol'vir
Tol'vir brothers.jpg
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Titan (presumed), Tol'vir

The tol'vir are a race of feline humanoids found in Uldum. They were originally stone constructs created by the titans to maintain lore repositories and machinery surrounding that area, as well as the city of Ulduar.[1] They possess feline lower bodies and heads as well as human torsos, and are divided into three distinct tribes: the Ramkahen, the Neferset and the Orsis. Like many other titan-forged, the tol'vir succumbed to the Curse of Flesh, though the Neferset later regained their stone forms due to a pact with Siamat.

The tol'vir made their first named appearance with World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, when Uldum was expanded into a zone of its own. However, they appeared years earlier as the obsidian destroyers, though the connection between them was not made clear until Cataclysm.

History

Early history

A tol'vir in the TCG.

Like most other titan-forged, the tol'vir were created using the Forge of Wills during the ordering of Azeroth. Like the anubisaths and the mogu, many tol'vir accompanied Highkeeper Ra when he traveled south from Ulduar to install the Forge of Origination in the jungles of Uldum, far to the south. After the Forge had been embedded in the land, Ra assigned the tol'vir and anubisaths to watch over the area as he and the rest of his followers continued west to establish the fortress of Ahn'Qiraj.[2] When Ra vanished many years later, most of the tol'vir congregated around Uldum and began developing their own culture, completely separate from that of their northern brethren. When the agents of the treacherous Loken traveled south in search of Ra, they unwittingly afflicted the tol'vir with the Curse of Flesh.[3]

Obsidian destroyers

When the Drakkari tribe of trolls moved north to hunt down northern aqiri colonies during the war between the trolls and the aqir, they encountered something unexpected: enslaved tol'vir. These "obsidian destroyers", as they were called, had been dwelling outside of Ulduar until the aqir arrived and enslaved them. Despite their ferocious strength, the Drakkari were able to topple the destroyers and their aqiri masters.[4] The northern aqir who survived the war would later evolve into a new race, known as the nerubians, and began adapting the tol'vir's architecture for their own purposes. Although the Scourge would eventually consume the nerubian empire and throw its few remaining tol'vir slaves into the front lines, it's possible that more tol'vir still exist in the hidden titan city of Uldum or deep within the remnants of Azjol-Nerub.[1]

Lei Shen and the scouring of Uldum

Millenia later, the tol'vir of Uldum continued trying to endure the ravages of the Curse of Flesh, patiently waiting for instructions from Ra or his mogu followers in the east. Eventually, they received word from a mogu leader known as Lei Shen, the "Thunder King", and in response, they dispatched ambassadors to the east. Lei Shen showed the tol'vir the wonders of his new empire, the rise of which had gone unbeknownst to the western titan-forged. When the mogu announced that he had defeated Ra in battle and that he intended to claim the Forge of Origination for himself, the tol'vir became furious. Refusing the Thunder King's offer of a place of honor in his empire in return for their service, the tol'vir returned to Uldum. Confident that his armies would be able to claim the stronghold with ease, Lei Shen marched west, even inviting many of his Zandalari allies to join him in his impending victory. However, the tol'vir, knowing that they would not be able to face the mogu head-on, prepared a daring plan: to use the Forge of Origination against the Thunder King. When the mogu reached Uldum, the tol'vir activated the weapon, having configured it to only scour the surrounding region. The energies of the Forge instantly killed all life in the region — including a small number of tol'vir defenders who had remained outside the stronghold to act as a distraction — and turned the lush jungle into a barren desert. The tol'vir thereafter used magic to seal off the mountain passes leading into the region in order to ensure that no one would ever attempt to follow in the Thunder King's footsteps.[5]

Kings and emperors

The tol'vir appear to have a long and storied history of various pharaohs, kings and emperors ruling over the tribes. "Sun King" or "sun-king" is a title mentioned at various places throughout Uldum (for example, Tomb of the Sun King, Seal of the Sun King, N [83 Daily] Thieving Little Pluckers, N [83] Relics of the Sun King). It is unknown what meaning this title carries or carried. The "Tahret dynasty"[6] is so far the only known tol'vir dynasty.

In the reign of Pharaoh Tebhotep a plague of serpents struck the Vir'naal River. Nothing could drive away the reptiles. Then, a second plague appeared, this one of desert scarabs. The scarabs fought the serpents until not a one of either creature was left and peace returned to the land.[7]

Emperor Ninjter was foretold to have a long and prosperous rule.[8] The Ramkahen expected greatness from his reign[9] and hoped that he would be able to end a famine that had apparently been plaguing the tribe,[10] but ultimately Ninjter died young and accomplished little during his reign.[8]

Unearthed recently in an ancient tomb, the  [Winged Guardian] may have once served one of the ancient Tol'vir princes.[11]

A legend among the tol'vir tells of a wicked djinn whom the Ramkahen sought to destroy. In an attempt to prevent his own death, the djinn tried to transfer his spirit into the body of a monkey. He was slain right in the middle of the transference, and only a fraction of his essence had moved over - only enough to possess the monkey's paw.[12]

Civil War

Cataclysm This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.

Tekahn, Dark Pharaoh of the Neferset.

When the tol'vir were afflicted by the Curse of Flesh, they grieved for their weakened bodies, but there seemed to be nothing they could do to reverse it, so they accepted it and went on with their lives. Even so, many never stopped mourning the loss. As during the Cataclysm, Deathwing returned to the world, he aligned himself with the Elemental Lord Al'Akir, the leader of the air elementals, as well as the Old Gods, who were the source of the curse. When Deathwing came to Uldum, he offered the tol'vir a deal: join him, and he would return their original stone forms to them - the curse would be reversed. The Neferset, led by Dark Pharaoh Tekahn, overwhelmingly agreed to the bargain. Menrim, one of the Neferset, felt differently and tried to convince other Neferset that it was a poor idea they would forever be indebted to Al'Akir and Deathwing. Neferset however were arrogant, believing they could overthrow them and regain their independence once their old forms had been restored.[13] When the tol'vir of Orsis refused, Al'Akir buried the city beneath the sands in a great windstorm.[14] The Ramkahen were also given the same choice but refused; they however have taken steps to insure their safety after seeing the aftermath of the attack on Orsis.[15]

War aftermath

With the help of valiant adventurers from both Horde and the Alliance, the Ramkahen has managed to take Neferset City and push the Neferset tribe back. The Ramkahen now control most of the tol'vir settlements in Uldum, while the Neferset still hold the southern part of the delta and their stronghold in the Lost City. More Neferset can be seen in the Vortex Pinnacle.

Quest for Pandaria

WoW-novel-logo-16x62.png This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft novels or short stories.

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Tol'vir icon (recolored from archaeology image)

Legion

Legion This section concerns content exclusive to Legion.

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Li Li Stormstout and a monk adventurer visit Ramkahen while searching for the Fists of the Heavens.

Gharset the Aimtrue is present at the hunter class hall, Trueshot Lodge.

Biology

The tol'vir have humanoid upper torsos with a more lionine bottom half. Their faces are also very lionine, with sleek features and sharp fangs. Thick fur of various shading covers their body, with some tol'vir resembling tigers or jaguars, others having an appearance closer to that of lions or panthers.

Tol'vir children are referred to as cubs.[16]

Before being afflicted with the Curse of Flesh, the tol'vir had stone bodies and gems encrusted in certain areas. Some of the larger tol'vir had a pair of stone wings.[17]

Culture

Society

Raider Lord Havat.jpg

In ancient times, the tol'vir were charged with guarding and keeping the structures and artifacts of the benevolent Titans. All the combat protocols that the titans programmed into the tol'virs ancestors are still there, though some are part of their instincts, some get passed on as traditions.[18] To this day, the tol'vir keep this charge[19], but have also established their own cultures and cities in the process. Tol'vir buildings are made of stone and mud, shaped into bricks and placed into cube like structures. While simple, they are effective at blocking out the harsh sun on the Uldum desert, or cutting out the unforgiving winds.

Although the systems keeping Uldum hidden from the rest of the world worked flawlessly from the ordering of Azeroth up until the Cataclysm, the tol'vir inside did have some knowledge of what was going on outside their home: many of the titans' security devices in Uldum were in communication with the other titanic cities (Ulduar, Uldaman, etc.). The Halls of Origination were actually the system that Algalon the Observer intended to activate upon his arrival in Ulduar.[20]

The tol'vir tribes are lead by kings, and live in what appears to be a monarch system of government. When the king passes on, the oldest living heir will take it's place, and so on. Higher ranking members of tol'vir society, such as generals, kings, and high priests, wear head pieces that are shaped like rams[21] or birds.[22] It is known that the tol'vir revere the Titans and their guardians, so these may be shaped in honor of the Titan guardians.

The tol'vir have many sacred areas around Uldum. While the prime religion and beliefs of these creatures is not known at this time (see speculation), it is clear that it is of importance to the Tol'vir, as High priests of the tribes are held in high standing.

Tol'vir mummify their dead.[23][24]

Language

They appear to have their own language, but they also seem to be able to speak both Common and Orcish, as they interact with both Horde and Alliance adventurers. It is also not outside the realm of possibility that they speak Titan, the language of their creators.

Tribes

Three tribes exist in the present day named after the cities they live in: Ramkahen, Orsis (nearly wiped out by Al'Akir) and Neferset. The latter tribe has allied with Deathwing in order to regain the tol'vir's stone form.

Notable tol'vir

Name Role Affiliation Status Location
Neutral  King Phaoris Ruler of the Ramkahen Ramkahen Alive Ramkahen, Uldum
Neutral  Prince Nadun Brother of King Phaoris, Prince of Ramkahen Ramkahen Alive Mar'at, Uldum
Combat  Dark Pharaoh Tekahn Ruler of the Neferset tribe Neferset tribe Killable Neferset City, Uldum
Neutral  General Ammantep Military leader of the Orsis tribe Orsis tribe, Ramkahen Alive Vir'naal Oasis, Uldum
Neutral  Itesh Civilian leader of the Orsis tribe Orsis tribe, Ramkahen Alive Vortex Pinnacle
Neutral  High Priest Amet Spiritual leader of the Ramkahen, member of the High Council Ramkahen Alive Vir'naal Dam, Uldum
Boss  Temple Guardian Anhuur Guardian of the Halls of Origination Pantheon Killable Chamber of Prophecy, Halls of Origination
Neutral  Sun Priest Asaris Ramkahen sun priest Ramkahen Alive Seal of the Sun King, Uldum
Neutral  Atulhet Powerful prophet, defender of Nahom Unknown Deceased Buried in Tombs of the Precursors, Uldum
Neutral  Azj'Aqir Sorcerer who created the  [Scepter of Azj'Aqir] Unknown Deceased Unknown
Boss  High Prophet Barim Hallowed spiritual leader of the Neferset tribe Neferset tribe Killable Terrace of the Augurs, Lost City of the Tol'vir
Neutral  Captain Hadan Leader of a Ramkahen reconnaissance party in the Lost City Ramkahen Alive Lost City of the Tol'vir
Neutral  Prophet Hadassi Wisest and eldest member of the Orsis tribe Orsis tribe Deceased Orsis, Uldum
Combat  Raider Lord Havat Leader of the Neferset looters in Keset Pass Neferset tribe Killable Keset Pass, Uldum
Boss  General Husam Led the Neferset rebellion against Siamat Neferset tribe Killable Warlord's Garrison, Lost City of the Tol'vir
Neutral  Irmaat Renowned bronzesmith Ramkahen Deceased Unknown
Neutral  High Commander Kamses Leader of the Sword of Ramkahen, member of the High Council Ramkahen Alive Ramkahen Legion Outpost, Uldum
Combat  Kavem the Callous Captor of Prince Nadun Neferset tribe Killable Lost City of the Tol'vir, Uldum
Neutral  Menrim One of few Neferset who opposed the pact with Deathwing Ramkahen Alive Ramkahen, Uldum
Neutral  Emperor Ninjter Ramkahen ruler who died young Ramkahen Deceased Unknown
Neutral  Salhet Soldier of the Sword of Ramkahen, later commander of a regiment Ramkahen Alive Uldum
Neutral  Vizier Tanotep Enforcer of King Phaoris, member of the High Council Ramkahen Alive Akhenet Fields, Uldum
Neutral  Pharaoh Tebhotep Pharaoh during whose reign a plague of serpents struck the Vir'naal River Unknown Deceased Unknown

Trivia

  • The tol'vir's culture, architecture and naming conventions are all obviously based on real-world Ancient Egypt.
  • Concept arts for a race of centaur-like creatures with lion-like bodies already existed before the release of World of Warcraft.
  • During early parts of the testing of Cataclysm, before the tol'vir were introduced, tigons could be found in various places in Uldum.
  • Despite having paws, tol'vir footprints are shaped like hoofprints in-game. This may be a developer oversight.

In Hearthstone

Hearthlogo.png

This article contains information and lore exclusive to Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Characters or articles listed here have yet to make an appearance in World of Warcraft and their canonicity has yet to be determined.

Tol'vir first appeared in Hearthstone with the League of Explorers adventure, which features a tol'vir boss by the name of Sun Raider Phaerix and the Warrior card Obsidian Destroyer.

The Journey to Un'Goro expansion features a group of stone-skinned tol'vir who wandered from Uldum into the nearby region of Un'Goro Crater and made a home for themselves there, including the legendary paladin card Sunkeeper Tarim.[25] Blizzard also originally planned to introduce a new race of crocodile-like reptilian humanoids, with the reasoning that while the mogu created the saurok to combat humanoids such as the pandaren, the tol'vir would have had to create a bulkier version to combat the dinosaurs of Un'Goro. However, Blizzard eventually decided to simply use the pre-existing saurok instead.[26]

Notably, the Un'Goro Madness micro-holiday in World of Warcraft features a lone stone-skinned tol'vir by the name of Sunkeeper Croesus, who shares his title with the aforementioned Tarim.

Speculation

Concept art.
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This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials. It should not be taken as representing official lore.

Possible religions

The Light

Some of the Tol'vir use Light based abilities, and call forth the powers of Light: High Prophet Barim summons forth the powers of Heaven's Fury and Repentance, while Temple Guardian Anhuur varies from Searing Light to Divine Reckoning. The Dungeon Journal clarifies that these two do utilize the powers of the light, but the description of the latter makes it clear the creature had to be specifically empowered to utilize these powers, making it unlikely to be available to the majority of the Tol'vir.

The Sun

Tol'vir priests are referred to as sun priests, which could indicate some sort of connection with the sun. Indeed, the sun is often referred in locations throughout Uldum (Seal of the Sun King, Obelisk of the Sun, Tomb of the Sun King) and there is a temple that is explicitly powered by the sun. In addition, statues of Rahj, the Watcher of the sun, are a common sight throughout Uldum. However, many of these locations were constructed (and presumably named) by the Titans, so it might not be indicative of the Tol'vir religion.

Immortality

As revealed in the Dungeon Journal, General Husam was assigned his duties personally from the Titans. Despite being exposed to the curse of flesh, he remained relatively ageless and even lived to see the curse lifted. It could be that, despite being cursed, the Tol'vir maintained their immortality.

Gallery

References