Twisting Nether

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The Twisting Nether in Outland in Burning Crusade.
The Twisting Nether as it appears in Warlords of Draenor.
"It exploded into being around him.
There were a thousand ways to perceive this place. Every voyager saw it differently, depending on circumstance and form and state of mind. For him it was a black, airless void in which a billion stars twinkled. Behind and beneath him blazed the world from which he had come. Through the void trailed the snake of energy he had summoned, guiding him outward into infinity."
Illidan Stormrage experiencing the Twisting Nether[1]

The Twisting Nether (also known as the endless void,[2] the Nether,[3] and nether world)[4] is the astral plane between worlds,[3] described as the line between the ebb of Light and the flow of Void.[5] It is said that in the beginning there was Light and there was Void and a time long ago, the two collided in the abyss of the Great Dark, which the Twisting Nether overlaps with.[3] The Twisting Nether is an ethereal dimension of chaotic magics that connects the myriad worlds of the universe.[6]

Nature

There are a thousand ways to perceive it, every voyager sees the Nether differently, depending on circumstance, form, and state of mind. Illidan projecting his spirit into the Nether saw it as a black, airless void in which a billion stars twinkled, and behind and beneath him blazed the world from which he had come. A snake of energy leading out into infinity represented the flow of energy of the portals the Burning Legion use.[7] Turalyon perceived it as a chaotic realm where the universes sparked by the Light and Shadow bled together; a place of pitch black skies, twisting and filled with strange, conflicting powers. Countless worlds appear on the edge, seemingly close enough to touch and yet unimaginably far away. The Light intermingles with the Shadow, the primal uncontrolled forces of chaos and order, life and death, clash.[8]

The Nether, though separate from the physical universe, still has physical objects,[9] such as planets. It transcends all realities[10] and is normally imperceptible to mortals.[3] Those that enter the Nether rarely return.[11] Time passes differently deep inside the Twisting Nether, and it is impossible to tell whether days, years, or centuries have passed.[12] Turalyon and Alleria have fought in the Nether for a thousand years from their perspective, while on Azeroth it has been only a few decades.[13] A week on Azeroth could be a month in the Nether, or ten or many, many more.[8]

From within the Nether, Turalyon could witness Draenor's destruction without being there. He was standing in Hellfire Peninsula, in a copy, or illusion, of Draenor, witnessing the cataclysm all around him, and yet unaffected by any of it, until Lothraxion extirped him from the Twisting Nether and brought him back to the real Draenor, now Outland.[8]

Origins

Twisting Nether concept art from the Art of World of Warcraft book.

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. From these, the Void was born. The Void quickly grew and began to move against the Light. Eventually, the mounting tension between the two forces ignited a series of explosions that ruptured the very fabric of creation, giving birth to the physical universe.[14]

The energies released from the clash between Light and Void raged across the nascent universe, forming countless primordial worlds. For long epochs, the ever-expanding Great Dark Beyond broiled in a maelstrom of fire and magic. Shards of Light were flung throughout reality, suffusing worlds with the spark of life.[14]

The most unstable energies however coalesced into an astral dimension now known as the Twisting Nether. Light and Void collided and bled together at the edges of this realm, throwing it into turmoil.[14] Their energies would give birth to the very first demons.[15] The Twisting Nether is the only place where demons can truly die.[16][17] Although the Twisting Nether existed outside the borders of the physical universe, its volatile energies would occasionally tear through the veil of the Great Dark, flooding into reality and warping creation.[14]

World of Warcraft

Burning Crusade

The Burning Crusade This section concerns content exclusive to The Burning Crusade.
Goblins are very practical for not letting you fall into the Nether.
An abandoned ship stranded on a rock in the Twisting Nether.

An in-game area called the "Twisting Nether" was added with World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. It can be reached by flying beyond the edges of Outland and, in practice, serves a similar function as that of the Veiled Sea: a mere border to the in-game representation of the world. Also in common with the Veiled Sea, the Twisting Nether has its own general and local defense channels.

Even though the Twisting Nether does not seem to be part of Outland, players can explore it with a flying mount and remount if they choose to explore the floating masses on foot. There does not appear to be a fatigue warning as one gets exploring the Veiled Sea. If you fly to far out or too high, you simply get an audible sound indicating that you can't go any farther. For a Druid in flight form the bird makes a screeching noise. Note that there have been reports of random invisible dismount flags strewn about the Twisting Nether. According to these reports, the mount and player character will make a jerking motion when you approach these flags.

Sometimes, taking the boat to Valaar's Berth will make you join Twisting Nether chat channels for a split second just after the loading screen. This happens because Azuremyst Isle, like the nearby Bloodmyst Isle, is actually located on the Outland map despite appearing geographically in the Veiled Sea. Drinking  [Pure Energy], provided for quest at Toshley's Station, also causes the zone display to say "Twisting Nether".

Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath of the Lich King This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.

During the early stages of the war against the Lich King, the heroes of Azeroth such as Jaina Proudmoore, Broll, Maraad, Hamuul and some others teleported themselves into the Nether to and channelled their powers into Med'an, becoming a Guardian for a time.[18]

When Malygos diverted the magical powers that coursed beneath Azeroth to the Nexus, the world's crust splintered, and the resulting unstable rifts tore the very fabric of the magical dimension of the Twisting Nether.[19]

Cataclysm

Cataclysm This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.

Using the  [Phaseblood Potion] in Felwood shifts you into the Nether.

Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor This section concerns content exclusive to Warlords of Draenor.

Shadowmoon clan began harness the power of the Twisting Nether bringing its creatures into Pillars of Fate in Shadowmoon Valley.

Kalandrios on Draenor sends adventurers into the Twisting Nether. Void enemies drawn by Warsong shaman want to connect the Nether into Draenor through Oshu'gun. The invasion is stopped by defeating Invalidus. Adventurers of the Horde and Alliance also fight the Void creatures from the nether in the quest Assault on Pillars of Fate.

In the quest The Void-Gate, Impsy states that there are things happening on Draenor that are causing ripples in the Twisting Nether. Some of these disturbances have been felt by Impsy, who warns that "they don't bode well for any of us."

Archimonde sends adventurers to the Twisting Nether during his confrontation in Hellfire Citadel.

Legion

Legion This section concerns content exclusive to Legion.

Several worlds located in the Nether were invaded as a response of the Burning Legion's third invasion of Azeroth. Mardum was retaken by the demon hunters of the Illidari, the Dreadscar Rift is conquered by the warlocks of the Black Harvest, and Niskara is invaded several times by the Azerothian forces.

The naaru sanctuary Netherlight Temple of the Conclave priests is located deep inside the Nether[20] and was attacked by Balnazzar and his forces. The Conclave along with the paladins of the Silver Hand defended the temple and destroyed the demons.

Medivh seems to have flown towards the Nether as he explained to Khadgar that he couldn't help against the Legion's invasion, and was needed elsewhere.

Part of the Kil'jaeden fight in the Tomb of Sargeras takes place on his ship within the Nether. Toward the end of the fight the ship leaves the Nether to appear in orbit above Argus.


Other names

Known worlds

Residents

Notes & trivia

  • There was a vast Twisting Nether distance between the original Draenor and Azeroth.[25]
  • Nethershards are solidified residual energy from the Nether.[26]
  • Imps can Phase Shift into the Nether. The Fel Imp Impsy added a drop of his very own essence to ooze to create the  [Phaseblood Potion], which makes its user to shift into the nether.
  • The Kirin Tor regularly combs the local reaches of the Twisting Nether for misplaced objects. They've found various treasures, but have recently found more and more garbage and refuse.[27]
  • Some believe that after death, mortal souls go into the Twisting Nether.[28][29][30]
    • It was once referred to as "the realm of spirits",[31] where some spirits were stuck between the Twisting Nether and the physical world, seeking release from their eternal suffering.[32]
  • The druids of Azeroth suggested that the Rift of Aln in the Emerald Dream either bled into the Twisting Nether, or led to an Old God.[33]
  • According to Jamma'lan of the Atal'ai tribe of fanatical trolls, Hakkar the Soulflayer was a god that he wanted to summon from the Twisting Nether.[34]
  • Some warlocks believe that a part of everyone exists simultaneously in the mortal realm and the Twisting Nether.[35]
  • Most trans-location or teleportation spells are thought to send the user through the Twisting Nether. Famous examples include the warlock spell [Ritual of Summoning], the mage collection of portal spells,[27] as well as the shaman spell [Astral Recall].
  • Dornaa, the draenei Children's Week orphan, made the following joke about the Twisting Nether: "Is the Twisting Nether shaped like a pretzel? And just what is a nether? The Orphan Matron said I shouldn't ask people about their nethers."

In the RPG

The RPG Icon 16x36.png This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft RPG and is considered non-canon.

The Twisting Nether is a formless place of magic and illusion. It is indistinct and chaotic, with no size or shape. Coterminous with all other worlds, the Twisting Nether can be a gateway for those who know how to use it. For mortals, the Twisting Nether is notoriously difficult to access. Spells and portals can take one there, but few other options exist. Traveling to a location within the Twisting Nether, such as Outland, can then lead a hero into the formless plane itself.[36] In the non-canon RPG books, it is also known as the Abyssal Plane[37] and even possibly the Dark Below.[37]

Geography

The worlds of the universe are orderly, bound by physical law, and comprehensible. The Twisting Nether is everything the worlds are not. It is a stream of pure chaos that surrounds the worlds and binds them together.[38]

Chunks of worlds float among prismatic clouds, and colorful energy ribbons twist through the void. All is spectral and shadowy — blurring together in a muted, multicolored haze that brushes and teases the senses. Physical laws do not exist in this realm of ghosts, save those that a traveler creates for his or herself. Magic and illusion dance across the ever-changing vastness.[39]

The Twisting Nether does not co-exist with these worlds in any physical sense. It is a completely different state of being, one that is fundamentally incompatible with the universe as most creatures know it. Someone cannot look from the Nether into a world and vice versa; it is much easier to move between the Nether and a world. A shadow walk spell will take one through the Nether as he moves from place to place, and one can reach the Twisting Nether and its inhabitants with just about any planar travel or communications spell. Entering the Twisting Nether brings one to a realm of pure, lunatic thought. Most of the Twisting Nether is protean, never appearing the same for more than a few seconds. Colors change, it grows dark and light from moment to moment, sparkles and strange sounds emit and then vanish. One moment someone is suspended in nothingness, the next he is standing at the bottom of a deep canyon of purple rocks. His next shift may be to a tiny rock suspended in a starry night, and he has no way of knowing whether the change will occur in seconds or days. The Nether is an intensely magical environment, and some speculate that it is the true source of all arcane magic.[38]

The Twisting Nether has subjective directional gravity. The strength of gravity in the Twisting Nether is the same as on Azeroth, but each individual chooses the direction of gravity's pull. Such a plane has no gravity for unattended objects and non-sentient creatures. The Twisting Nether can be very disorienting to the newcomer, and the plane appears weightless.[40] Movement is controlled by the will, and one can travel in any direction simply by deciding to do so.[38] Creatures in the Twisting Nether can move normally along a solid surface by imagining "down" near their feet. If suspended in midair, a person "flies" by merely choosing a "down" direction and "falling" that way in a straight line only. In order to stop, one has to slow one's movement by changing the designated "down" direction.[40] Though limited to regular movement speeds, one can sprint as long as he wishes without growing tired. The Twisting Nether does not restrict him from simply appearing wherever he wants to within it (this normally "impossible" action is known as point-to-point movement). Merely existing within the Nether strains the mind of non-native creatures, though, and ignoring traditional physical laws is even more painful.[38][41] Creatures native to the Twisting Nether, such as demons, can move point-to-point at will without any handicap.[38]

The Twisting Nether is of infinite size, there are no known borders of to the Nether. Age, hunger, thirst, poison, and natural healing do not function in the Twisting Nether, though they resume functioning when the traveler leaves the plane. It is also strongly chaos-aligned. It also enhances magic. Magic is extremely powerful in the Nether. Any spell cast while in the Nether has its duration extended. Illusion spells cost no mana and last for extended periods.

The Twisting Nether is highly morphic and little shifts occur all the time in the Twisting Nether, and many changes are caused by the landscape adjusting itself to fit the thoughts of those within it. Worry about war, and the landscape may become a battlefield populated with undead soldiers. If one is lonely, his lost love may step out of a nearby cottage. The solidity, detail, and potential danger these images possess depend on how well a creature can control its thoughts. If a creature is in control of its thoughts, then images the creature's mind triggers are benign or easily ignored. If it doesn't control its thoughts, then the images that appear are realistic and frightening. Strong-minded individuals may consciously influence the Twisting Nether. The changes made may be subtle or drastic. One can create an image of a dog wandering around the area sniffing others and licking any hand that is presented or place oneself and those nearby at the top of a windswept mountain. A creature cannot create any knowledge that it does not already have. If someone creates a well-appointed library, for instance, the only information in the books is information he already knows. If more than one creature tries to manipulate the environment, the one with the strongest will controls the environment. This control persists until another stronger willed creature changes it. The forces of the Twisting Nether steadily erode any attempt at a static environment. If someone creates a cozy chalet with a roaring fire on the hearth, he should not be surprised if a few moments later the fire poker has morphed into a duck. A harmful environment created requires all those within the area to be willful to avoid being harmed by it.[42]

Residents

The first edition of the Warcraft RPG listed a number of creatures that could be encountered in the Twisting Nether, as described in the Shadows & Light sourcebook.[43] Most of these creatures are either standard Dungeons and Dragons monsters translated to the Warcraft setting, or creatures unique to the Warcraft RPG, and are therefore non-canon.

Inspiration

  • The Twisting Nether resembles the Warp from the Warhammer 40,000 universe. The Warp is where the powers of Chaos and their servants reside; they are always trying to corrupt and invade the universe.
  • Another likely source of inspiration is the Astral Plane in the Planescape campaign setting of Dungeons & Dragons, which has a lot of things in common with the Nether, such as subjective gravity and amorphous, magical environments. The Planescape Astral Plane also works as a gateway between worlds.

See also

References

  1. ^ World of Warcraft: Illidan, pg. 194
  2. ^ Archimonde (Hellfire Citadel tactics)#Quotes
  3. ^ a b c d e The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Twisting Nether
  4. ^ Jaraxxus#25-player normal mode abilities Spell shadow shadowfury.png  Nether Portal — Lord Jaraxxus opens a portal to the nether world, inflicting 9263 to 9737 Shadow damage to targets in a 10 yard radius of the portal and summoning a Mistress of Pain.
  5. ^ Jeremy Feasel on Twitter (2015-06-06)
  6. ^  [Mythology of the Titans]
  7. ^ World of Warcraft: Illidan, pg. 153
  8. ^ a b c d A Thousand Years of War
  9. ^ Matt Burns on Twitter
  10. ^ Alex Afrasiabi on Twitter (2015-06-06)
  11. ^ http://www.wowcards.info/card/betrayer/en/108/Banish-to-the-Nether
  12. ^ N Hunter [98 - 110] Rescue Mission
  13. ^ N Paladin [101 - 110] The Scion's Legacy
  14. ^ a b c d World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 18
  15. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 21-24
  16. ^ World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 25
  17. ^ Jeremy Feasel on Twitter (2015-06-06)
  18. ^ The Comic
  19. ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, chapter 2
  20. ^ N Paladin [110] United As One
  21. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual
  22. ^ a b Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual
  23. ^ a b c Warcraft: Orcs & Humans manual
  24. ^ Grubb, Jeff. The Last Guardian. ISBN 978-0-6710-4151-9. 
  25. ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter
  26. ^ N [110] Shard Times
  27. ^ a b Portals are NOT Garbage Bins!
  28. ^  [Sully Balloo's Letter]
  29. ^ N [33] Stranglethorn Fever
  30. ^ H [27] Speaking with Nezzliok
  31. ^ H [28] The Mind's Eye. "And in getting the Eye, you must have defeated Mai'Zoth and sent him to the Nether. That is why the spirits would not mention him before. It is good that he is gone from the world of flesh and bone, but now that he is in the realm of spirits..."
  32. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual
  33. ^ Stormrage, chapter 29
  34. ^ H [50] The Temple of Atal'Hakkar
  35. ^  [Void Totem]
  36. ^ Shadows & Light, pg. 215
  37. ^ a b Manual of Monsters, 191.
  38. ^ a b c d e Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 215
  39. ^ Shadows & Light, pg. 152
  40. ^ a b World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 24
  41. ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 25
  42. ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 215-216
  43. ^ Shadows & Light, pg. 152-155