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Sporemound

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Sporemounds
Chronicle2 Taala.jpg
The Sporemound Taala is awakened by the botani.
Classification

Carnivorous plants

Faction/Affiliation
Homeworld

The Sporemounds were a carnivorous, invasive strain of plant that arose on Draenor during its earliest days. They consumed everything in sight, eventually tapping into the Spirit of Life, allowing all of Draenor's plant life to act as a single organism: the Evergrowth.[1]

History

Birth of the Evergrowth

The Sporemounds' tendril-like vines slithered over Draenor's earth and strangled every primitive beast that they could reach. As they grew, the Sporemounds consumed more and more, their hunger and need to expanding knowing no end. They blossomed into living mountains of tangled brambles and noxious pods. Wherever their tendrils crept over the earth, lush forests and swamps took root, and before long, a labyrinth of deep wilds stretched to the far corners of Draenor.[1]

Not even Draenor's elemental energies were safe from the Sporemounds. As their roots wormed deep underground in search of water, they tapped into the fifth element that suffused Draenor's soil. The primordial energy ignited a crude communal sentience within the Sporemounds and the surrounding wilds, allowing Draenor's plants to act as a single massive organism, becoming collectively known as the Evergrowth. If any major threat arose, the Evergrowth reacted in unison. However, such threats were non-existent, for the Evergrowth dominated everything in sight.[1]

When the titan Aggramar came across Draenor in his travels, he was intrigued by the world, but foresaw doom for the planet if the Evergrowth was allowed to grow unchecked, as it would eventually consume everything on the world, including the elemental spirits. Once that happened, the Evergrowth would devour itself, and Draenor would be left a wasteland devoid of life. Aggramar's natural affinity for order compelled him to take action, but he did not wish to completely destroy Draenor's plant life, only to temper it. Thus, he would need to neutralize the Sporemounds, the heart of the Evergrowth's power.[1]

The battle with Grond

Grond battles Botaan, the last of the Sporemounds.

The titan considered destroying the Sporemounds himself, but since his power was so great it risked irreparably damaging or even shattering Draenor and because he could not stand guard over the world forever, he instead decided to create a mighty servant in his own image to uproot the Sporemounds. Using a massive elemental storm, Aggramar caused a mountain to groan to life and named it Grond. Grond began marching across the world to conquer the Evergrowth. He confronted and defeated the nearest Sporemound before tearing it from the world's surface with ease. The other Sporemounds shivered in agony at the destruction of their kin. Mere roots would not topple Grond; instead, the Sporemounds would need to adapt.[1]

Each Sporemound drained the surrounding wilds of life essence, leaving behind only withered tracts of land. Infused with these energies, the Sporemounds arose to walk the world. There were three, each embodying a different region of the Evergrowth: Zang, whose hide was covered in swamps and mushroom thickets; Botaan, who was covered with primal forestlands; and Naanu, who wore a fleece of dense jungles. As one the Sporemounds moved against Grond, and Draenor buckled under the weight of the warring giants. Aggramar watched the battle from the skies over Draenor. Zang, Botaan and Naanu were determined to protect the Evergrowth at any cost, and through their communal sentience they moved in perfect unison against Grond, nearly overwhelming him. However, like his creator, Grond possessed a will of steel and refused to give up. As the calamitous battle raged, the tide shifted between each side. The Sporemounds were resilient, but could not hold out forever against Grond's attacks. Zang, the smallest of the Sporemounds, suffered the most and was the first to fall. Grond took hold of it and tore it in half. Its rotting body would later transform into the Zangar Sea. Grond pressed his attack against Naanu and crushed it between his hands. The creature collapsed to the ground, where its broken husk would slowly sink into the earth and become the region of Tanaan Jungle. Only Botaan remained, but Grond was weakened and scarred by the battle. Botaan sensed its opponent's weakness, but would need more power to defeat the giant. It leeched the life essence from the bodies of Naanu and Zang, absorbing them and growing to a monstrous size. Still, Botaan remained cautious, evading Grond's direct assaults while entangling him in thousands of small vines that gradually burrowed into the cracks and wounds on his skin. Grond considered them a mere nuisance and ignored them until it was too late. The vines wrenched open his existing wounds and tore open new fissures across his body. Grond collapsed beneath his own weight and crumbled to pieces, the bulk of his corpse forming a mountain range at the edge of a region latter called Nagrand.[1]

Botaan's fall

During the battle betweeen Grond and the Sporemounds, pieces of their bodies had fallen to the earth and given rise to new types of creatures. From the seeds and roots of Zang, Naanu and Botaan, many unique beings sprouted, the greatest of which were the genesaur, while from the largest boulders that had toppled from Grond, the colossals arose. Much of the stony debris that had fallen from the giant also contained the elements of fire, air, earth and water, leading to the birth of myriads of elementals. Aggramar was confident that the colossals would be able to destroy Botaan and bring balance to Draenor, and to aid them he crafted great discs inscribed with titan runes from the body of Grond and fused them to the colossals, creating armor that granted them strength and resilience. In the meantime, Botaan and the genesaur had begun to retake lands Grond had taken from the Evergrowth. As Aggramar unleashed the colossals against Botaan, he felt a constellar dying somewhere in the Great Dark Beyond and left to investigate with the promise he would return one day. He never did.[1]

The colossals would never know of Aggramar's fate at the hands of Sargeras and fully expected their master to return. They were determined to bring balance to Draenor before that happened, but it was an enormous task, for the Evergrowth had enveloped much of the world and Botaan now eclipsed Grond in size. It would have to be drawn away from the Evergrowth if the colossals had any chance of succeeding, and so they drew its ire by hacking way at the forests at the Evergrowth's edge. Botaan rallied the genesaur and they stormed toward the colossals, which retreated into barren ravines and hills that would give them the advantage. Botaan followed them as it saw the colossals as only pale imitations of Grond, and when it left the borders of the Evergrowth the colossals attacked with their full might. The ensuing war shook Draenor for thousands of years, with control of the world constantly moving back and forth between the two forces.[1]

The battles over time took their toll on the colossals. Just as they had broken off from Grond, pieces of their bodies that broke off came to life as the magnaron. The colossals called on the magnaron to fight the Evergrowth, but they did not obey. Some did indeed battle the forces of Botaan, but not out of loyalty to the colossals, and others simply left the battlefield to seek out areas of volcanic activity. The colossals' numbers were dwindling and they had to take drastic action or they would fail. The titan discs that made their armor contained immense power, and that power would stop the Evergrowth. The colossals piled onto Botaan and unleashed the energy in unison, creating a massive explosion. It shattered the bodies of Botaan and the colossals and sent the pieces all across Draenor. Botaan's death rattle blazed through every root and leaf in the world, causing lush tracts of forests to wither and instantly killing hundreds of genesaur where they stood. For one brief moment, the entirety of the Evergrowth trembled with the shared agony of Botaan's death. Then there was silence. Botaan's demise had destroyed the communal sentience of Draenor's wilds. Unlike the fallen colossals, Botaan's body still contained potent life energies. Wherever fragments of the being fell to the earth, forests and jungles arose, while the bulk of its body formed a vibrant region later known as Farahlon.[1]

Echoes of the Sporemounds

The magnaron would gradually give rise to lesser creatures — the gronn, ogron, ogres and orcs. The common ancestry of these so-called breakers did not make them allies, but it did infuse them with a shadow of Grond's influence, and all of them were opposed to the verdant wilds. The genesaur and other plant-based life were known collectively as the primals, and they traced their lineage back to the Sporemounds; much like the breakers, many of them had arisen in the aftermath of Botaan's destruction, but while the numerous spores released from Botaan's corpse had weakened the creatures of stone, they had the opposite effect on plant life, granting existing plant species sentience and causing new beings to take shape in the jungles. Among these were the diminutive podlings and sporelings, as well as the intelligent and prolific botani. Faint memories of the Evergrowth lingered in the botani's minds, but they did not know the full truth of the Sporemounds or their battles with Grond and the colossals. Even so, what little the botani knew of the Evergrowth had a profound impact on their culture, leading them to revere the genesaur as gods due to seeing the larger creatures as echoes of the Sporemounds.[1]

The birth of Taala

Many years later, a treant called Gnarlgar wandered the dense forests of Talador. From the genesaur, it learned of the Evergrowth, the Sporemounds, and the ancient past of Draenor. Over millennia, it used its magics to strengthen its fellow primals in their war against the breakers while also honing its own abilities to influence and control its kin. It found particular potential in the botani and became their caretaker, teaching them the truth of the Sporemounds and unique ways to harness nature magic. Gnarlgar eventually became aware of the arakkoan Apexis civilization, which it saw as an immense affront to nature and an even greater threat than the breakers. Gnarlgar departed Talador in search of a weapon to use against the Apexis, and discovered a massive fossilized root - one of the last remaining intact pieces of Botaan's body. The treant returned to Talador and rallied the botani, telling them that they would use the root to craft a new Sporemound, greater than any that had come before it, to cast the Apexis from their lofty spire. Gnarlgar planted the root deep within Talador and began a great ritual to nourish it. Thousands of botani willingly sacrificed themselves, and Gnarlgar infused their spirits into the root. Gradually, leaves and branches sprouted from the earth and grew into a mound of thorny brambles and leathery fronds. Gnarlgar named the burgeoning Sporemound Taala. Meanwhile, the primals prepared for war, awakening new genesaur from their birthing pools while Gnarlgar channeled the Spirit of Life into the forest to gift thousands of trees with intelligence, naming them the Gnarled. Tens of thousands of primals gathered in Talador to await Taala's awakening.[2]

The Apexis initially ignored the stirrings in Talador, believing them to be part of the war between the breakers and primals, but began to worry when the few scouts that returned described armies of living trees, botani and genesaur, as well as a monstrous creature that was already larger than a genesaur. The leaders of the Anhari and Skalaxi orders quickly mobilized the Apexis into an invasion force and struck at the heart of Talador, ignoring the other primals and focusing solely on destroying Taala. Brutal fighting erupted between the arakkoa and the primals, but despite the magic powers at their command, the Apexis could not break the primals. Gnarlgar entered a trance that allowed it to touch the minds of the primals and coordinate their movements, driving the arakkoa back into the skies. Nearly half of the Apexis forces had fallen, but the Anhar order proposed a solution. Its priests had devised an ingenious weapon, the Breath of Rukhmar, that could channel the energies of the sun to devastating effect. As the Anhari began work on the device, Gnarlgar quickened Taala's maturation, ordering more botani to sacrifice themselves so that the Sporemound could be awakened before the arakkoa could regroup.[2]

Finally, Taala stirred, rising up from the ground as the forests trembled at its first step. Gnarlgar entered a trance once again to reach out its mind to Taala and the other primals to order them to march upon the Apexis. The Apexis realized they could not complete their weapon in time, but a small number of Skalaxi sorcerers volunteered to assassinate the primals' leader. They shrouded themselves in shadow and stalked through the forests until they found Gnarlgar, but the treant sensed their presence and quickly disposed of them, though not before the sorcerers had managed to cast a withering curse upon the treant. Gnarlgar's roots and boughs rotted and withered until it collapsed beside its assassins. Gnarlgar's death sent the primals into disarray, and for a time they halted at the edge of Arak before resuming their march, but the delay had been enough for the arakkkoa to complete their work. Just as Taala reached the spire, the Anhari ignited the weapon. A violent tremor shook the spire as solar energies roared through it and a white-hot beam exploded from the mechanism to lance through Taala's chest, blowing it apart in a cloud of spores and ash. The Breath of Rukhmar sliced through the botani, genesaur, and Gnarled, incinerating thousands in an instant. The few that survived retreated to Talador in terror, but they were engulfed in flames by the Apexis's Anhari order. The forests that had crept into Arak were seared away. Once the attack was halted, blackened earth and smoldering roots stretched as far as the eye could see. The Evergrowth had been annihilated forever and would never return again.[2]

References