Patch 9.1: The Chains of Dominion – the next chapter of Shadowlands begins with a thriller that turns the balance of power in the Shadowlands in favor of the gloomy jailer. Suddenly no pact leader is safe from him and his newest henchman. While the Kyrians fear for the life of their Archon Kyrestia, a mist-shrouded floating island appears at the edge of the maw.

This land mass is called Korthia, the city of secrets. It is precisely there that the jailer suspects the artifacts of the first to break his last chains and unleash the power of the Maw. The pacts must unite if they are to escape the sinister pull of the gullet and stand up to their enemy. But what sounds like a simple task quickly becomes a real challenge. After all, the peoples of the Shadowlands are faced with an almost invincible enemy who does not obey the rules and is ready to unhinge the entire creation of the First.

The attack on the bastion

The Archon is not dead, but is in a coma. & Nbsp;

The Archon is not dead, but is in a coma.

Source: Blizzard

Before delving into the city of Korthia, let's look at the terrible events that took place in the bastion. The announcement cinematic for Patch 9.1: Chains of Dominion is linked directly to the end of the last story chapter of Shadowlands. After the victory over Count Denathrius, Kyrestia, the powerful leader of the Kyrians, calls a council in the Elysian fortress. The Archon knows that the Kyrians can no longer isolate themselves from other realms of the dead and ignore the danger posed by the Maw. Kyrestia's advisors propose an alliance with the Winter Queen. Although the Primus and Count Denathrius have fallen, the Kyrians want to protect the Shadowlands with the Night Fae. But before Kyrestia can nail it, Anduin Wrynn appears in the bastion. The young king appears to have escaped Sylvanas and the Maw. But Anduin's expression shows no joy and his eyes are ice cold. As Uther is led past him, the pain of Frostmourne's wound in the Lightbringer's chest flares up again. This is a clear sign that something is wrong with the Hochkönig of the Alliance.

The temporary end of the Archon

King's Sorrow, the jailer's new curse
The rune blade we saw in the video bears the ominous name of King's Mourning. Anduin's new sword was forged from Shalamayne, the legendary weapon used by Varian Wrynn. During Anduin's imprisonment, the jailer spoiled Shalamayne and turned the sword into a grief blade. This sword now resembles Frostmourne, that cursed rune sword with which Arthas extinguished innumerable lives in the Third War.
Like any mortal with a pure heart, the Archon grants Anduin an audience. The young king is only a few steps away from Kyrestia when she sees through the jailer's wrong game. But your realization comes too late! Anduin draws his sword Shalamayne, which turns into a rune blade in the next moment, and pierces the Archon with the grief blade. We witness how the rune sword steals Kyrestia's soul essence. The guardian of the bastion has fallen! A short time later, Anduin gives her essence to the jailer, whose gaze then falls on a chained island in the gloomy mists of the throat. The island in question is Korthia, a long-lost realm and a new play area that we will soon be able to explore.

Protect the judge! In Maldraxxus, the image of the Primus explained to us that it was the last (i.e. the fifth!) Key to the jailer's freedom.

Protect the judge! In Maldraxxus, the image of the Primus explained to us that it was the last (i.e. the fifth!) Key to the jailer's freedom.

Source: Blizzard

The villain obtained the first key, but he needs three more. This presumably refers to the essences of the other Eternals. The winter queen is likely to be the next victim on the list. We do not know how things are currently with the Primus von Maldraxxus and the devious Count Denathrius. The leader of the necrolords is most likely the runecutter who has been trapped in Torghast for ages. The soul of Denathrius, on the other hand, was locked in the runic blade Remoria. It probably won't be long before the jailer's henchmen show up in the rune-slaughter's cell and in the fall of man. Another important point in the story is the judge. According to Primus, it is the last key that we absolutely have to protect from the jailer. So there would be five in total.

Our alarm bells are ringing! Il'gynoth, the monster from the Emerald Nightmare, spoke of five keys of power: "Five keys to open our path. Five torches to light our path." and "The Lord of the Ravens will turn the key." In WoW Legion we suspected that Il'gynoth was speaking of the Pillars of Creation and Khadgar. But his prophetic words take on a new meaning in Shadowlands. Because if the jailer should actually get to all the keys, then he will tear down the boundaries between the domains and thus also unleash the powers of the void. Who could be the Lord of the Ravens remains a mystery. Maybe the jailer will conjure up Medivh?

Was Arthas innocent?
The stories of Arthas and Anduin have so many parallels that the question now arises whether the jailer had brainwashed Arthas and forced his will on the prince. At least that was the assumption made by Calia Menethil, who, faced with the power of the jailer through the crown of domination, questioned the terrible crimes of her little brother in Lordaeron. The princess speculated whether the jailer was also controlling her little brother. At this point, the fans at BlizzCon 2021 checked again and asked developers whether Calia was right and Arthas was innocent.
The developers' answer was clear: Arthas made all of his decisions of his own free will! The jailer only showed him the direction and the possibilities, but the prince walked the rest of the way alone until the end. The jailer makes no great secret that his original plans failed because of the three Lich Kings because they were too headstrong. Using the example of Arthas and Bolvar, however, Zovaal learned that he needs a powerful henchman who he can not only influence remotely, but also control directly.

Anduin's gaze becomes clear for a brief moment. Then the runes light up again and the jailer has full control over his mind again.

Anduin's gaze becomes clear for a brief moment. Then the runes light up again and the jailer has full control over his mind again.

Source: Blizzard

With Anduin, the jailer has created a perfect servant who can hunt the Eternals in his place and even attack Oribos directly. The great goal of Zovaal (the real name of the jailer) is to get out of the Maw. But he can't just do it like that, he needs allies who work for him outside of his dungeon. Anduin is so valuable because he can move freely in the Shadowlands and the jailer can hide his real face behind his kindness. He abuses the king as a kind of Trojan horse with which he can cross all borders and bypass the protective spells of the Eternals. That sounds terrible, but Zovaal's latest ruse saved Anduin from certain death.

In an interview, Steve Danuser, the Lead Narrative Designer of World of Warcraft, confirmed (buy now € 14.99 )that Anduin is not dead, just cursed by the jailer. He controls the king through the runic armor and the grief blade like a puppet. In the video we see for a brief moment how horrified Anduin is when he realizes what he is doing. This scene is
particularly important! At this point we see a big difference to Arthas, who as a death knight looked down at his victims with cold and scorn. In contrast to Arthas, Anduin is trapped in his armor and completely at the mercy of the jailer. Danuser also made it clear to us in conversation that this experience will change the king and that memories of the horrors of the Maw will never let go of him. Anduin is unlikely to fall in combat at the end of Shadowlands, as he will be at the core of the future World of Warcraft story. However, it will certainly never be the same again.

Where is Varian Wrynn actually?
Although we suspected Varian's soul to be in Maldraxxus, there is no trace of the former High King of the Alliance in the Shadowlands. When asked about his whereabouts, Blizzard's developers only replied in interviews that Varian, like Saurfang, already had his heroic moments in the game. Neither of the two legendary heroes will appear again in physical form in the game. But that doesn't mean the legacy of Varian and Saurfang, and the memories of their exploits, don't affect the story of Shadowlands. But on the contrary. The true legacy of Varian Wrynn lives on with his only son. Who knows, maybe Varian's ghost will appear in the last fight against the jailer to give Anduin hope and the necessary strength so that he can break Sylvanas ‘spell and free himself from the curse of Kings' grief.

Bitter consequences: Sylvanas doubts the jailer's plan when she looks into Anduin's face. Does he remind her of Arthas? & nbsp;

Bitter consequences: Sylvanas doubts the jailer's plan when she looks into Anduin's face. Does he remind her of Arthas?

Source: Blizzard

This news is no cause for grief. Changes are an important part of any exciting story. Severe trials once shaped the strong personality of Varian Wrynn, who was considered a weak ruler before his disappearance in Stormwind. It was clear from the start that his son would face a similar fate. The ordeal Anduin goes through in Shadowlands does not mean that he will turn out badly and follow the same sinister path as Arthas once did. It was not without reason that the team of authors chose the same visual language for the Shadowlands videos as in the cinematics of Warcraft 3. The arc of suspense in Shadowlands is also similar to that in the classic strategy game. The developers first tell us four different stories that overlap in the middle and then lead to the grand finale. Instead of Arthas, in the end we meet Anduin – at least that's our theory. And this time we will not kill the protagonist of this story, but save him and free him from the jailer's stranglehold. The developers have already stated several times in interviews that the classic image of good and bad is the past and that with WoW they want to create a new space for all Warcraft fans in which they can view all the big and small stories from different perspectives. For Anduin, this could mean that he accepts his dark side, which has always emerged from him in recent years, and no longer hides it from his friends and subjects.

The winter queen is in danger!

The Winter Queen is the last guardian of the Shadowlands who stands in the way of the jailer.

The Winter Queen is the last guardian of the Shadowlands who stands in the way of the jailer.

Source: Blizzard

Anduin's future is uncertain. But what about the winter queen who is the last to stand in the way of the jailer? It is unlikely that the King of the Alliance will attack the Ardenwald. The Kyrians must have already warned the Winter Queen about Anduin. The jailer will use another ally for this endeavor. We know from the book that can be found in Revendreth that he has a spy among the night fae. As a reminder, the author reports that the Dread Lords have infiltrated all cosmic powers. The Nathrezim were responsible for the rise and fall of powerful beings like Sargeras and Xe'ra. They were not idle in the Shadowlands either. With the help of the Burning Legion, the Dreadlords smuggled the armor and rune sword of the Lich King into Azeroth and made sure that Uther and Sylvanas also end up in the jailer's net. As the rulers of innumerable fates, the Nathrezim form the great common denominator in the history of WoW.

The spy network spans all worlds and can open any door for the jailer. In an interview, the developers stated that the Dread Lords had found the long-lost kingdom of Korthia and steered the island into the abyss. If the Nathrezim are able to perform such miracles, then conquering Ardenwald will be a breeze for them. Even the Winter Queen's closest confidants could be spies just waiting to strike. And finally, it should be said that even loyal figures like Ysera or Tyrande are not safe from the jailer's influence. It would not be the first time that he has abused a hero for his sinister purposes. And there is another prophecy from Il'gynoth, who warns us of the forces of life and mentions green eyes: "The vessel of life holds treason. Beware of the greens' eyes. " "The Vessel of Life" could be the Emerald Dream, once created by the Titans as a blueprint for the rebuilding of Azeroth. The dream is also linked to the realm of the winter queen. With "the eyes" Il'gynoth could mean the Green Dragonflight and thus Ysera. Is she the spy in Enemy Infiltration – Foreword the speech is? Or is another treacherous green dragon hiding in the Ardenwald?

Let's say the jailer gets the Winter Queen's essence and the remaining keys. What does he want to unlock with it in Korthia? If you summarize all the lorry snippets from BlizzCon, then something is hidden in Korthia that promises the jailer freedom. It seems that the story of Korthia doesn't just end in a raid.

The next raid is not on Korthia itself, but in the Sanctum of the Jailer in the Maw. Perhaps the story of the City of Creators even spans multiple patches. After all, the developers have promised that the players in Korthia will get many answers to previously unanswered questions. There we will also meet the Dread Lords and learn more about the first, the true creators of the Warcraft universe. Will we get an answer there to the central question, for which crimes the First Zovaal punished and banished into the gullet?

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WoW Patch 9.1: Cinematic trailer for Chains of Dominion – King's Grief

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