September 16, 2009
The Gathering is the 23th installment of the World of Warcraft comic. The story was written by Walter and Louise Simonson while the art was handled by Mike Bowden and the cover drawn by Mike Bowden and Tony Washington.
Wildstorm released a summary of the comic on their websites, which included many errors.
- Following an attempt on Med'an's life, Garona and Meryl team up to take out the ogre Cho'gall. Meanwhile Med'an, Valeera and Maraad travel to Karazhan to speak with the shade of Med'an's father.
On the day of Maraad and Med'an's departure from Theramore to Outland, Meryl notes that Med'an is unusually quiet. The boy lies that he had trouble sleeping the previous night due to a nightmare. Aegwynn, Jaina, Meryl, Rehgar, and Valeera watch Maraad and his grand nephew take off on their gryphons.
Two days later, Maraad and Med'an approach the Dark Portal in the Blasted Lands, and Maraad points out Medivh's tower of Karazhan in the distance. Med'an's thoughts are occupied by the vision Medivh sent him, and he wonders if Meryl knows his father's identity. He concludes that the old mage doesn't know since he thinks that no one could love the son of a monster like Medivh in the way that Meryl loves Med'an. Med'an decides that he won't go to Karazhan and looks forward to the opportunity to enter Outland to escape his father's summons.
Meryl teleports to Ironforge and meets with his old friend High Priest Rohan, informing him of the threat posed by the Old One and the plan to create a new Guardian and Council of Tirisfal. Rohan is receptive to the plan but warns that they might not want to involve Krank Axeljink since he places more faith in technology than is wise. However, Meryl insists on seeing what the gnome says. While walking to Tinker Town, Rohan mentions to Meryl that Brann Bronzebeard at one point discovered the base of Medivh's staff Atiesh but somehow lost it again in Ahn'Qiraj.
In Tinker Town, Rohan and Meryl talk to Krank, who immediately begins laying out his plan for a machine that can combine the different kinds of magic into a single strand that can be wielded by a Guardian (whom Krank believes will likely be himself). Meryl comments that it might have been a bad idea to involve the gnome. While Krank continues talking of all the mechanical components he'll need, Rohan tells Meryl that he and Krank will likely end up with a lot of luggage and will take a ship to Theramore. Meryl teleports away, having "another stop to make".
Maraad and Med'an emerge from the Dark Portal and fly over Hellfire Peninsula. Maraad comments that the forces of Azeroth have scoured much of Outland of the Burning Legion but continue to guard the Dark Portal against demon incursions. While flying over the Path of Glory, the vindicator grimly explains that it is paved with the crushed bones of draenei who were slain by the original, demon-corrupted Horde. The pair continue into Terokkar Forest and take a slight detour to Auchindoun, which Maraad wants his nephew to see to help him understand what Draenor was once like. He explains that the tomb-city was once the sacred mausoleum of the draenei, but it and the surrounding countryside were destroyed when the Shadow Council released the creature Murmur. Med'an reflects that he perhaps belongs in exile in Outland, being the son of a demon-serving human monster and of the mad orcs who ruined Draenor.
As the pair approach Shattrath City to meet with Khadgar, Maraad explains that the archmage was once Medivh's assistant and helped expose the wizard's crimes alongside Med'an's mother. Med'an is confused that everyone would willingly trust a man who not only served Medivh, but also has some sympathy for him. The two gryphons land on the Terrace of Light and Maraad introduces his nephew to Khadgar, who notes that he can see the vindicator's likeness "and more" in the boy.
Atop the Red Rocks in Mulgore, Hamuul Runetotem holds a ceremony for a tauren woman and child that were killed by Bristleback quilboar. He reflects that between the Lich King, Malygos, and the trouble in Darnassus, all of Azeroth seems threatened, and even the Bristleback seem more aggressive than usual. He is interrupted in his ponderings by a quilboar ambush but manages to call on lightning to kill the invaders. The display is witnessed by Rehgar and Valeera, who arrive on wyverns. Rehgar explains to Valeera how Hamuul sought out and received druidic training from Malfurion Stormrage after being stirred by the dedication of the druids at the Battle of Mount Hyjal. The orc and blood elf greet Hamuul (who is surprised to see Rehgar in the company of one of his former champions from Dire Maul) and begin to explain their plan to the tauren.
In Shattrath, Khadgar agrees that the creation of a New Council of Tirisfal is important but states that he must remain in Outland for now. He suggests that they take the Scryer magistrix Dalynnia Wrathscar in his stead. While Maraad talks to Dalynnia, Khadgar takes Med'an aside to ask about his parentage. After a moment of consideration, Med'an tells Khadgar that he is the son of Medivh and explains how his mother Garona was brutally raised by Gul'dan. Khadgar reflects that both of Med'an's parents were doomed before they were born. Med'an is confused at this, and the archmage explains that Medivh was possessed since before his birth by the corrupted titan Sargeras. The wizard's behavior was erratic, but sometimes (when Sargeras' attention was focused elsewhere), Khadgar would see the real Medivh, a powerful but charming and intelligent man who fought his possession. The archmage finishes by assuring Med'an that "Even the most powerful of demonic forces cannot always foresee the results of their plotting... and for all their power, you may yet be their undoing".
Meryl teleports to Ahn'Qiraj but is weakened by the effort. Kathra'natir points out that the mage is using much of his waning arcane magic to keep the dreadlord in check, but Meryl affirms that he remains in control despite Kathra'natir's efforts. The mage teleports to another part of Ahn'Qiraj to reunite with Garona, who is spying on Cho'gall. He tells her that her son is safe in Outland with his uncle, but lso that she should have told him who Med'an's father was. The conversation is interrupted when Cho'gall begins a monologue to his followers below. He recites the prophecy concerning Med'an:
- "When the child of the three realms becomes as light, the ancient power will be released. The earth will tremble. The seas will rise up in answer, and all will be madness. A new day will dawn, bringing with it chaos or peace..."
Cho'gall declares that he will weaken the barrier between Azeroth and the Elemental Plane to allow his master to reclaim its elemental servants and send them rampaging through Azeroth. This will lure the spellcasters at Theramore into sending Med'an to Ahn'Qiraj to stop the ogre, allowing Cho'gall to kill the boy and open the way for his master's return. Garona notes that if Cho'gall is successful, the threat of the elementals could even rival that of the Lich King. However, Meryl assures her that there is still hope; as he learned from Rohan earlier, the base of Atiesh lies somewhere within Ahn'Qiraj, and its power could aid them against Cho'gall.
Krank and Rohan arrive in Theramore, followed shortly after by Hamuul, Rehgar, and Valeera. They gather inside the keep with Aegwynn and Jaina, who explains how the original Council of Tirisfal was formed almost 3,000 years earlier to combat demons that were slipping into Azeroth. The council was most effective when they channeled their power through a single champion, a Guardian. Through a special ceremony, the council would hand their combined power to the Guardian, who then physically faced the danger while remaining in magical communion with hte rest of the council. When the battles were over, the Guardian returned their borrowed power. Aegwynn continues that the new Guardian facing the threats of the present day will need both the capacity to handle the immense power surge and the ability to wield magic from different disciplines, and that she only knows of one person who fits these criteria: Med'an. However, Krank is indignant at the thought of asking "some untried mixed-race child" to be Guardian and offers to instead demonstrate the invention he has created to combine the different magics of the council.
In Ahn'Qiraj, Cho'gall conducts the ritual to rend the barrier to the Elemental Plane, unleashing giant elementals across Azeroth. He tells them to attack where their master orders them but to focus especially on Theramore. Having scried the location of the base of Atiesh, Meryl tells Garona that she will find the weapon within the belly of C'Thun's corpse. He instructs her not to touch it directly and to instead wrap it in a cloth, as it is filled with demonic energies. As he is too drained for another teleport, Meryl draws on some of Kathra'natir's fel power to travel to Theramore to warn the council of what is coming and tell them the wording of the prophecy. As he departs, he tells Garona that the choices they all make now will mean Azeroth's salvation or destruction.
Meryl arrives in Theramore, where Krank is in the process of handing out helmets to the council members, claiming that the headgear will feed their magics into the machine and convert them into a form that can be wielded by the wearer of the master helmet (Krank, that is). Meryl is outraged at Krank's plan, saying that it will be less than useless against what is coming, and warns the other council members of what Cho'gall has done. He tells them to look out the window, where the huge elementals have already arrived.
In Shattrath, Maraad thanks Khadgar for his help and says that Dalynnia will make a fine addition to the council. Med'an thanks the archmage as well, saying that he has answered many questions for him, including perhaps the most important one of all. As the group prepares to leave, A'dal tells Med'an to meditate carefully on his choices, for the Light has given him great gifts, but making the wrong choice could lead to Azeroth's doom. As Maraad, Med'an, and Dalynnia fly away from Shattrath, Med'an wonders if he should turn away from Medivh or answer his father's call to join him at Karazhan.