- For the language, see Vrykul (language).
Vrykul (pronounced ['vraɪ.kʊl] and sometimes pluralized as vrykuls) are a race of fearsome half-giant warriors native to the Howling Fjord, located in southeastern Northrend. They are the progenitors of the human race, who were originally vrykul offspring that were born weak and deformed as a result of the Curse of Flesh. They were introduced in Wrath of the Lich King.
- 1 History
- 2 Culture
- 3 Appearance
- 4 Notable vrykul
- 5 Types
- 6 Notes & trivia
- 7 Inspiration
- 8 Speculation
- 9 Gallery
- 10 See also
- 11 References
After Loken subdued most of the Keepers and kicked the titan-forged out of Ulduar, the fire giants Volkhan and Ignis sought to conquer the Storm Peaks. They armed the the Winterskorn vrykul to attack other titan-forged across the Storm Peaks, thus beginning the Winterskorn War. They caught the attention of Tyr when they attacked the earthen. Tyr asked the Dragon Aspects for aid, and the war ended with Ysera and Nozdormu putting the Winterskorn into a timeless sleep beneath northern Kalimdor.
The Curse of Flesh
One clan in particular struggled against the curse of flesh. After exhausting all natural attempts, the tribe sought the aid of its priestesses. These women plumbed the world of spirits for answers, but they found the malevolent Helya, lying in wait. Their ritual went horribly wrong, as Helya further corrupted those that sought freedom from their curse. These eternally vengeful beings would swell the ranks of Helya's Kvaldir.
On the other hand, a powerful clan, the Dragonflayer clan, arose. Becoming weaker because of the curse, they balanced their diminishing strength by taming proto-dragons. Oktel Dragonblood was among one of the first to ride these dragons. Unlike the Winterskorn clan, they didn't see them as mere beasts of war. They used the dragons as hunting companions and rode them during the battle. Over time, the proto-dragons became an inseparable part of the clan's culture and powerful allies against their mortal enemy, the jalgar.
The rise of humanity
Under King Ymiron's reign, 15,000 years ago, the curse caused vrykul children to be born in a disfigured state, which was considered "weak and ugly" by vrykul standards. These infants were dubbed "aberrations" and "runts", and vrykul society was deeply divided on how to deal with them. Some vrykul were disgusted by these "aberrations" and beseeched their ruler, Ymiron, to have them all killed, citing a need to keep the vrykul race pure; others pleaded with him to show them mercy, protesting that despite their weakness, these infants were still their children. Ymiron meditated on the issue for some time before reaching a dangerous conclusion: that because the Titans had not come to aid them in their hour of need, and because the vrykul knew of no other beings with power on the same level as their gods, the curse must have been created by the Titans. Although this was not the case, the vrykul believed it, and at Ymiron's bidding they forsook their gods and Titan worship was outlawed. Ymiron then took the side of those calling for the death of their malformed infants, and decreed that all parents with so-afflicted children must kill their young or be taken to Gjalerbron for execution.
However, not all vrykul could bear to kill their own flesh and blood. Despite their king's harsh decree, they sheltered their children and took them away to a land far away from Northrend, the modern Tirisfal Glades. They had heard stories of the vrykul clan that had followed Tyr and had settled in that area, and decided it was a safe haven for their children. There they nursed and raised their children in secret, and taught them the stories and values of ancient vrykul society. Finally, with heavy hearts, they left them in the care of the vrykul that inhabited Tirisfal, before returning to Northrend. These outcast vrykul "runts" would later form their own cultures and kingdoms, and became known as humans.
It is unclear what happened to all of those parents who did not kill their children, but many if not most of them would come to no good end; a vicious vrykul warrior, Skadi, relentlessly hunted them down and killed any of them he came across. For this he was judged to have committed a true act of depravity, and was thereafter known as Skadi the Ruthless.
Most of the vrykul that had settled in Tirisfal Glades enventually died off or succumbed to the curse of flesh. The members of Tyr's Guard decided to induct some of the new humans into their ranks, to ensure the future of the group. They taught these new members the history of Tyr and the truth about the tomb.
In an effort to stave off the curse of flesh, the Dragonflayers went to sleep beneath northern Kalimdor in facilities such as Gjalerbron. The Tribunal of Ages, a record of false history created by Loken, erroneously claims that he ordered this hibernation. The vrykul left their homes, villages and keeps vacant as they slept. There they would remain undisturbed for thousands of years, even by the Great Sundering of the world.
Wrath of the Lich King
This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.
Shortly before the beginning of the War against the Lich King, the Lich King stirred from his Frozen Throne and sent his Scourge minions to swarm across the land, destroying all in their path. The slumbering vrykul awakened soon after, beginning with those of Jotunheim. Many of them would come to believe that the Lich King was a god of death, and pledged themselves to him and the Scourge. The Winterskorn clan was made subservient to the Dragonflayer.
When they arrived in Northrend, the Alliance and the Horde built two ports on the shores of the Howling Fjord, Valgarde and Vengeance Landing. The vrykul of the Dragonflayer clan turned against Valgarde, launching an ongoing series of attacks which were coordinated by Ingvar the Plunderer from the fortress of Utgarde Keep. In turn, the Winterskorn clan turned against Vengeance Landing.
The dwarven Explorer's League set to work excavating Dragonflayer ruins near Valgarde, speculating that the vrykul were related to humans and that they were connected by evolution, via a "missing link" of some kind. It was then that a draenei shaman, Thoralius the Wise, sent an Alliance adventurer into the spirit world to uncover the vrykul's past, where they found two visions of the past which revealed the events described above, thus revealing that there was no "missing link"; rather, the vrykul themselves were the missing link – they were the progenitors of humanity.
Other vrykul were seen around Northrend, often aiding the Scourge in their endeavours. They held competitions where many elite warriors competed for the chance to become powerful undead servants of the Lich King. The victors were made undead and became known as the Ymirjar; those who were not successful, or who fell in battle with adventurers, were turned into vargul instead. The responsibility for raising the dead in this fashion fell to a new type of val'kyr, winged spirits of vrykul women with vast necromantic powers under the control of the Lich King. The inhabitants of Valkyrion aspired towards this state, and many obtained it. However, even the vrykul loyal to the Scourge were fighting each others. Had King Ymiron blown the horns and called for all of the leaders of the ymirjar and mjordin to unite, the vrykul would've become a force more powerful than any other within the Scourge. This action would've organized the vrykul nation, but Ymiron fell before he could return triumphantly to Icecrown.
Other vrykul refused the call of the Lich King, such as a small holdout of hyldnir situated in Brunnhildar Village who reasserted their loyalty to the titans, or at least to the Keeper Thorim. One of their number, Sif, had been Thorim's wife a long time ago, and they held a contest, the Hyldsmeet, to see which among them would prove worthy to rule alongside Thor in her place.
Fall of the Lich King
By the time the Ashen Verdict lay siege to Icecrown Citadel, most of the vrykul loyal to the Scourge had been either killed or wiped out entirely in Icecrown. With the Lich King's defeat atop the Frozen Throne, some of the last remaining val'kyr pledged themselves to Sylvanas Windrunner afterwards, becoming part of the Forsaken. The fate of the vrykul people afterwards was left ambiguous, though they may have simply returned to their normal way of life and abandoned the Scourge to its fate.
This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.
A group of vrykul became elite drake riders who served as Deathwing's personal guard, under the command of Warmaster Blackhorn. Both he and they are fought during the fight against him in the sky.
Mists of Pandaria
This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.
This section concerns content exclusive to Legion.
|Source information needed!
The vrykul of Stormheim on the Broken Isles were ruled by a king until the day his son, Jarl Skovald, murdered him with the assistance of his brothers. The brothers then turned on each other, with Skovald's blade proving to be the fastest. He then fought his mother at Kingsfall Pass, Queen Bretta, and proclaimed himself king.
Gul'dan approached God-King Skovald with a simple proposition, join the Burning Legion and receive ultimate power, or be destroyed. Dreaming of conquest and glory, Skovald and his Tideskorn vrykul allied themselves with the Burning Legion and sought to claim one of the Pillars of Creation for their demonic masters. In his quest to gain access to the Halls of Valor, Skovald perverted the ancient trials that open the Gates of Valor. During the Trial of Might, he shattered Yotnar instead of besting him and attempted to destroy Aggramar's Vault so that no one else could know the criteria for the other trials from the titan databases. In the Trial of Will, he opted to enslave the Thorignir. During the Trial of Valor, he used the Bonespeakers to attempt to enslave the souls of the ancient rulers of Stormheim, forcing them to give their blessing.
Meanwhile, Odyn, under the guise of Havi, guided an order champion in their quest to beat the trials and retrieve the Aegis before Skovald. While the Felskorn assaulted the Gates of Valor, both challengers met, but Skovald left the fight before there could be a victor.
The order champions proceeded to beat Odyn's own challenges within the Halls of Valor, and earned the right to wield the Aegis of Aggramar. Skovald suddenly appeared however, demanding that Odyn acknowledge his claim to the Aegis, a protest that Odyn said came too late. Skovald thus attempted to claim the Aegis by force, but was killed, declaring in his final breath that all his plans had been brought to ruin.
Other vrykul did not follow Skovald in his alliance with the Legion, instead they remained loyal to Odyn. These Valarjar vrykul mainly stood in Valdisdall. An adventurer who fought valiantly a pit lord by Odyn alongside other vrykul who took up arms against the demons was uplifted by Odyn and made Battlelord of the Valarjar armies.
A forgotten tomb named Tomb of the Old Kings contained the remains of several great vrykul Kings. Odyn sent his Battlelord, with the help of Hruthnir son of Magnar, in the tomb to reclaim the armament of the Black Wyrm from the hand of the King Magnar Icebreaker. However the tomb was deconsecrated by the unholy magic from the Burning Legion and the guardian didn't recognize the Odyn's envoys. The Battlelord and Hruthnir fought the tortured spirits of Magnar and his soldiers. Vanquished, Magnar recognized his son and gave the to the Battlelord to avenge his death in fighting Helya. Finally, the spirits of Magnar and his soldiers were sent to the Halls of Valor.
In the Shield Hill, the spirit of Gorvold Ironbrow was called by the Tahu Sagewind and Orik Trueheart in order to find the place of a powerful artefact of the Light against the demons. The Gorvold's Story led the paladins group to the Tomb of the Old Kings. Inna the Cryptstalker tried to stop the despoilers to enter in the tomb but she was killed by the paladins. In the Shrine of the Truthguard, Yrgrim the Truthseeker, champion of Tyr, and Runeshaper Griselda challenged the paladin's group and lost the battle. He accepted his defeat and gave in order for the future Highlord of the Silver Hand to become the new champion of Tyr.
Later, Prustaga helped the Unseen Path to penetrate in the Tomb of the Old Kings in order to find a powerful artifact against the Legion. When they entered the tomb of Warlord Volund, his spirit was awakened. Taking the intruders for thieves, he decided to defend his tomb. When his spirit had been vanished, Prustaga betrayed the Unseen Path and took the . Her next and last move was to lead her vrykul followers to the Temple of Storms in order to absorb the powers of the storm and the makers. Finally, she has been killed with several of her followers by an alliance between Thorim and the Unseen Path.
Sigryn, the heir of God-King Skovald, was prophesized by Eyir long ago to unite the Tideskorn against the Burning Legion. Seeking to make right the damage done by her father, Sigryn decided to fulfill her destiny. She defeated the leaders of the Bonespeakers and Drekirjar in single combat and forced them to acknowledge her claim. But when her brother Torvald, whom she believed was long dead, revealed that the assassination of their family was orchestrated by Odyn himself, which Eyir confirmed, Sigryn was consumed by anger. She let the fel power of in her blood consume her and headed to the Halls of Valor in an attempt to confront Odyn. Fortunately, an order champion was able to dissuade her before she faced Odyn, who would not have been kind to her. She apologized to Eyir for her rampage and sought her judgement. Despite her misgivings, Sigryn showed that she possessed the strength and willpower to overcome the fel, something no vrykul had done before. Eyir thus decided that, instead of being punished, she was to assume the burden of the crown, and rule the Tideskorn as their God-Queen.
Battle for Azeroth
This section concerns content exclusive to Battle for Azeroth.
Contrary to popular belief, vrykul drinking horns were not common drinking vessels. While most drank mead or ale from bowls or cups, only those of great prestige quaffed wine from elaborate horns. Indeed, even the passing of such a vessel to the vrykul in question was a matter of ceremony, usually performed by the highest-ranking female present along with formal declarations of rank and deed.
In vrykul culture, it is the woman of the household who keeps all the keys, often displaying them prominently to show her status.
The vrykul assign nicknames based on accomplishments. Cleansing a Drakkari bloodline or decapitating taunka might garner the appellation of "dutiful" but it takes a true act of depravity to be called "ruthless".
Vrykul see manual labor as beneath them, and as such they use mindless undead to dig a tunnel from Utgarde Keep to Gjalerbron. They also use slaves in the Saronite Mines, but forging seems to be seen as a worthy pursuit, as there are many vrykul blacksmiths in Utgarde. Vargul possess enough of their minds to be used for labor, but are not pleased to do it.
Technology and armaments
The vrykul craft their homes and armaments from wood, stone, metal and whatever else they can gather from their surroundings. Animal motifs are known to be used on vrykul tools, weapons and armor, such as a flint striker with a rod carved like a dragon's head, with the flat blade of metal fashioned to look like a stylized fish. They also use proto-dragon fangs for tools, such as cloak pins. Vrykul technology, however, is slightly behind that of the Horde or Alliance. They use harpoon guns.
Many of the axes forged by the vrykul display an unusual style: the bottom edge of the axe blade extends down below the width of the butt. This style increases cutting area while minimizing weight; it can be used on both weapon and tools. Some dwarven axes show a similar construction. Scramseax are large, straight knives with a single edge and a simple hilt worn by many vrykul warriors as a sidearm. One common fighting style among warriors involves an axe in the main hand and the scramseax in the offhand.
Vrykul appear to use shoveltusk bones for weapons and armor, as can be seen in the Shaman Tier 10 armor set (Frost Witch's Garb) and . This can also be seen in concept art for a female vrykul warrior.
While Northrend's vrykul naturally know little magic, some have been trained in necromancy by the Lich King. A few of Ingvar's raiders also learned to master the arcane arts. Most vrykul magic seems to draw from mysterious runes that even the most experienced magi find unfamiliar. These rune-casters are among the deadliest of all the vrykul, possessing the power to freeze their foes in solid ice and shatter them into a thousand jagged shards. The mystic vrykul of Stormheim are masters of this rune magic. Many are known to infuse their tattoos with ancient magic and, culturally, hold their inkbinders in very high regard.
Vrykul appear as very large and muscular humans. Their infants, unlike human infants, apparently are able to stand on their own not long after birth. The males are usually, but not always, bearded; indeed, some vrykul skeletons retain their facial hair long after their flesh has rotted away, as evidenced by the Risen Vrykul Ancestors at the ancient burial ground known as Shield Hill. Many males also have intricate tattoos on their arms and torso.
Cairne Bloodhoof (who had never seen one in person) described them in the following way: "They looked like humans—if humans were larger than tauren and sometimes had skin that was covered in ice, or made of metal or stone."
Note that this is the only known official mention of "stone vrykul" that some players assume to have existed at some point. Interestingly, Cairne implies that they have already been seen. He may mean that iron vrykul have some stone parts, though it is possible that this was meant to be confirmation that there were stone vrykul.
Both men and women have deep voices.
A few types of vrykul exist. The currently known ones are:
- Have stone or metal-like skin with engraved runes. Sjonnir The Ironshaper appears to be this type of vrykul. The current generation of iron vrykul serve the titan watcher Loken, as well as his master, Yogg-Saron. They are the original form of vrykul made of iron, and are to the vrykul as the earthen are to the dwarves.
- They are all female and have blue skin. They are adapted to living in the colder areas of Northrend, more specifically in the Storm Peaks. They are sometimes categorized as frost vrykul alongside with the ymirjar.
Four undead variants derived from vrykul stock also exist.
- Incorporeal undead raised from vrykul females. Two similar versions exist: those created by Odyn (through Helya, and later through Eyir), and those created by the Lich King. The Valkyra aspire to be transformed to the first type; the inhabitants of Valkyrion aspire to be transformed to the second type.
- Vrykul brought to undeath that were found worthy by the Lich King. They are the winners of the challenge to "ascend" at Jotunheim. They are sometimes categorized as frost vrykul alongside with the hyldnir.
- Vrykul brought to undeath that weren't found worthy by the Lich King. They are the losers of the challenge to "ascend" at Jotunheim. The winners are the Ymirjar.
- Undead spirits, covered in green scales and barnacles; they are almost entirely aquatic. They were created by Helya in order to serve her in Helheim, and to kill and capture new spirits for her. They attack the beaches of southern Northrend and sections of Stormheim. Additionally in a chain of flashbacks, Varkul the Unrelenting leads a huge army and claims the then abandoned Ruins of Vashj'ir. Both he and his kvaldir were defeated by an army of naga lead by Lady Naz'jar and Fathom-Lord Zin'jatar.
Notes & trivia
- While it is not seen in-game, Blizzard employee Chris Metzen stated at BlizzCon 2007 that the vrykul were vampiric (see "Inspiration" section below). Whether or not this is canon has not been looked into publicly. Some speculate that the vampiric aspects were split off into the San'layn.
- Vrykul vampyres were later confirmed to exist.
- One of the females are voiced by Barbara Goodson.
- One of the females are voiced by Jessica Straus.
- One of the females are voiced by Rena Durham.
- One of the males are voiced by Richard Epcar.
- One of the males are voiced by Christopher Corey Smith.
- The Wrath of the Lich King game manual stated that vrykul are descendants of giants, however Chronicle Volume 1 establishes that they do not actually descend from the giants, but were created by the Keepers via the Forge of Wills, along with the Earthen and other second generation titan-forged.
- Early concept art shows that they were originally called vry'kul.
- In Heroes of the Storm, Leoric, a character from Diablo, has a skin called "Vrykul Leoric".
- Concept art for a mastiff-like breed of hounds employed by the vrykul existed before the release of Wrath of the Lich King as the "jag hund". After Cataclysm, all hounds used by the vrykul were updated from a hyena model to a mastiff one.
Vrykul culture, naming and architecture are all heavily inspired by Norse mythology and culture. More specifically, they may be inspired by the Einherjar (ine-her-yar, "lone ravagers/army of one") of Norse mythology who were the spirits of warriors who died glorious deaths in battle and were resurrected to serve the gods at the time of Ragnarök. Unlike the Einherjar, however, the vrykul serve an evil purpose.
The name vrykul comes from the Greek equivalent of the vampire, the vrykolakas (from the Slavic vǎrkolak). (The vrykul were originally planned to be vampiric in nature, but this aspect was seemingly later separated and implemented as the San'layn.)
In addition, the vrykul may have ties to the Warhammer universe's Norscans, a nomadic and violent race of humans enthralled to the Chaos gods. The Warcraft series is believed to be originally inspired, in part, by the Warhammer games.
At the BlizzCon '07 World of Warcraft Lore panel, Chris Metzen said "The first time we started talking about these guys, there were probably six different things that defined them, right? They're giant... dark... vampiric... barbarian... vikings... from hell, right? The list just kept going."
- Although the vrykul are generally seen as an inherently brutal race, focused on nothing but violence, power and servitude to their king, there are several cases throughout World of Warcraft where a disobedience to power, whether it be king or magic, is seen. For example, during the quest chain in Howling Fjord which gives a possible explanation as to how humans came to be, a vrykul couple choose to save their "weak" and "ugly" child (as they were described by King Ymiron) out of what appears to be the same moral values that their human descendants hold.
Vrykul building concept art by Jimmy Lo.
Vrykul in World of Warcraft: Legion
Vydhar, a tree with a vrykul face.
Felskorn Zealot, a fel corrupted vrykul.
- ^ BlizzCon 2015 World and Content Overview Panel (around 29:40)
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 60-61
- ^ a b c d World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1
- ^ Ask CDev - Round 4 Answers
- ^ Class Hall Mission: Dragonblood
- ^ a b
- ^ Skadi the Ruthless#Dungeon Journal
- ^ Libram of Ancient Kings, The Silver Hand
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 65-66
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, 65.
- ^ a b
- ^ Bjorn Halgurdsson yells: Drive the invaders out! For Queen Angerboda! Angerboda is the wife of Ymiron, king of the Dragonflayer
- ^ and
- ^ and
- ^ Thane Ufrang the Mighty#Quotes
- ^ Twilight Slayer
- ^ Icecrown Citadel (instance)
- ^ Edge of Night
- ^ Warmaster Blackhorn
- ^ God-King Skovald (tactics)
- ^ Quest:Shakedown
- ^ Mount Journal entry for and
- ^ a b
- ^ Mount Journal entry for
- ^ Adventure Guide entry for Skadi the Ruthless
- ^ Adventure Guide entry for Skarvald and Dalronn
- ^ Fjord Worg Pup
- ^ Utgarde Keep preview
- ^ The Art of World of Warcraft: Legion, pg. 85
- ^ The Old Wizard's Almanac
- ^ Utgarde Keep preview
- ^ BlizzCon 2015 World and Content Overview Panel (around 30:30)
- ^ Inked
- ^ The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, 17
- ^ The Rocks Below
- ^ Voice Work & Comedy: World of Warcraft