The hunger of the emptiness is infinite. Like a black hole, the dark domain devours all light and the souls of all living creatures. And even the beings that escape the deadly pull of the void turn into dangerous and insane monsters. But there are also a few exceptions that survived the night of emptiness. We are talking about the enigmatic astral. The mystical people who originally lived on the planet K'aresh. Not only did they survive an attack of emptiness, they even benefited from the great catastrophe that long ago destroyed their home and physical existence. And although most astrals deeply regret the loss of K'aresh and their escape, they benefit enormously from their new life as a soul trader. Today they rule over a shady trading empire that dwarfs the power and wealth of the kingdoms of all worlds. Finally, the influence of the astrals extends so far that they have recently decided about the life and death of entire planets and peoples. Her interest in Azeroth grows with each passing year as more and more astrals secretly spy on our heroes. What are the soul dealers up to with Azeroth? And can we trust astrals or do we have to be careful of them?
WoW: The end of K'aresh
Little is known about the true origins of the astral and about their homeland. The soul traders themselves reveal little about K'aresh. We only know so much that the planet suffered a tragic fate thousands of years ago. Dimensius, a powerful prince of the void, attacked K'aresh with a powerful army. Why the void creature became interested in this planet is still a mystery. According to Astralen, K'aresh was inhabited by several mortal peoples and had an abundant flora and fauna. One of these peoples was characterized by a high thirst for knowledge. They mastered the high art of magic and had advanced technology beyond our imagination. So it is possible that this idyll drew the void's attention to K'aresh. Another story, however, says that some scholars who sought immortality knowingly conjured up Dimensius and his sinister army. But no matter who or what lured the void to K'aresh, the fact is that the magical storm that Dimensius unleashed upon his arrival over the home of the Astrals wiped out all life on the planet. The hurricane's magical winds devoured the bodies of K'aresh residents, but some survived the void storm in magical domes. The survivors were no longer physical, but part of their existence was preserved by magic. The first astrals wrapped the remains of their souls in magical cloths that anchored them in reality. They were immortal and no longer bound by physical laws of nature. When Dimensius made the second strike, most astrals fled through magical portals in all directions.
WoW: The Exodus of the Astrals
For a long time, the astral wandered aimlessly in the universe. On their long journey, the survivors were divided into several groups, the journeys of which are still unknown. Our heroes made the first contacts with the astral when rediscovering Outland in The Burning Crusade. Although there had been no reports of their presence in Draenor until then, it seemed that the Astrals had been in Outland for a long time. And although they were present in almost every area, they did not act as conquerors, but rather as traders and collectors of magical artifacts. Each group of astrals was led by a prince who pursued their own interests. For example, Nexus Prince Shaffar searched for weapons against the Void in the desert of Auchindoun and Mana to avenge Dimensius for the destruction of K'aresh. In the north of Nethersturm, a group of astral researchers erected enormous biocomes in which the remains of Draenor's original flora and fauna found refuge. A crowd of traders took advantage of the hour when the Dark Portal opened and disappeared towards Azeroth. When we finally met her in Karazhan again, the majority of the astrals were hostile to us. Yes, our adventure trip through Outland showed us clearly how fragmented the astral people are and that they have no mercy when it comes to looting destroyed worlds and ancient ruins.
As long as we didn't get in the way of the astrals, they didn't show us much interest. That changed with WoW (buy now for € 39.99): Legion. A community of particularly enigmatic astrals appeared in Argus out of nowhere. Her magnificent clothes and armor were decorated with void symbols and occult ornaments, and their appearance was completely different from the appearance of classic astral objects from the Outland. The first void astral appeared in Mac'Aree, where they announced the coming of their sinister masters. A little later, our heroes found out that it was a fragment of the Ethereum that once served the Nexus King Salhadaar. The Ethereum was once one of the most powerful castes in K'aresh. The community of talented scientists, scholars and researchers was the longest to ward off Dimensius' attacks until their home was destroyed. After escaping, the Ethereum swore eternal vengeance on the Void Powers. In Outland, Nexus King Salhadaar, who led the Ethereum, created the dangerous Nexus Walkers. They served as spies for their king, as they could easily switch between emptiness and reality. After the death of their leader and the demolition of the Ethereum, the Nexus Walkers disappeared without a trace. It was rumored that they had fallen victim to the void, while others warned against underestimating these beings. The latter should be right.
WoW: Dark Allies
As our heroes fought the Lich King, Deathwing, Garrosh, and Co, the power of the Void Astrals grew. Far from the events in the real world, the converters formed a new alliance. Their goal was no longer to destroy the void, but the complete opposite. Instead of fighting the shadows as they once did, the void astrals serve their new masters – the void princes. When we crushed the Burning Legion on the Argus battlefields, the Void Astral immediately filled the power vacuum. So they waited for the Legion's defeat before striking again to expand the influence of the Void. The danger posed by the new invaders, however, was not only that they plundered the ancient Draenei ruins and experimented with their inhabitants, but that they did not give the impression of an insane sect. Exactly. They served the void, no question, yet they are completely different from the usual servants of the dark domain. For comparison: The cults of the Old Gods consist of fanatical and mostly crazy followers who spread chaos and death in the name of their masters. Most void astrals, on the other hand, act as dealers and collectors of all kinds of oddities. Some voidwalkers like the space traveler were friendly to our heroes. In the seat of the triumvirate, the space traveler explained the emptiness to us. He never regretted that he had got involved with the shadows. In the end, he even claimed that the emptiness per se is not evil, but offers mortals countless possibilities to transform reality in their favor.
And that is exactly what makes the voidwalkers so dangerous. Unlike the cultists we know from Azeroth, the void walkers do not preach the end of the world, but speak of the change that turns all mortals into a kind of god as soon as they connect with the void like the astral. Those who cannot control this creative power are already doomed according to the space traveler. He explained to Alleria and her void elves that mastery of shadow magic is a strength and that only the weak become insane. And even though the spaceman in Legion disappeared into unknown territory, his presence near Alleria is still clearly noticeable. Sure, we can't prove that, after all, the high elf couldn't distinguish his whisper from the other voices from the void anyway. Still, the presence of Shadreen, the assessor, is the best evidence that the converters are closely watching the void elves in Azeroth.
WoW: help, they're everywhere!
The converters don't just keep an eye on the void elves. The void astral spy network is much larger than we initially suspected. Out of nowhere, new astrals are appearing all over Azeroth who offer us their services or send us on missions to get strange items. These tasks are less dangerous, rather they serve to collect more information about our heroes. We were amazed when an astral named Zarhaal even appeared in the Terrible Vision of Stormwind and Orgrimmar and asked for strange crystals that could be found everywhere in both cities. These crystals are shaped like the obelisks from Ahn'Qiraj, which store the power and countless memories of N'Zoth. It seems very dangerous to give strange crystals with the essence of an old god to any stranger, right?
By the way, did you notice that Zarhaal is a "simple" astral? In Argus we have already observed that more and more astrals are joining the converters or at least working for them. Apparently the consortium, a group of astral who fought against the ethereum in Burning Crusade, is losing more and more influence. For the other soul traders, it is now more lucrative to work for the newly strengthened converters instead of following the rules of the consortium. Spying quickly deteriorates into an affordable service in turbulent times. The Voidwalkers are currently watching exactly how strong we are (keyword: fighting guild), what equipment and weapons we prefer (seller of item tokens, repainting) and even what taste we dress for (transmogrifiers and yes, even with the big style check are astral present). No area of life, however small, is left out by the converters. So is Blizzard still preparing us for an expansion in which emptiness plays the main role? Possibly, after all, converters don't spy on us for nothing. They also offer a more exciting story than the stale Old Gods. We are curious whether the void astrals will prove to be friends or enemies in the future!
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