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Lore Spotlight: Who Are The Nine?
17.07.2021 в 10:00
The first wing of the Sanctum of Domination raid opened up on LFR this week, and the final boss fight in this wing is with The Nine. These are not random Val'kyr - they are a very special group with a significant past.
The dark pact Sylvanas struck with the val'kyr forged her bond with the Jailer. Through the years, these winged sisters faithfully served the Dark Lady, even if it meant sacrificing themselves on her behalf. Now Sylvanas calls her nine val'kyr to fight for her one last time.
- Dungeon Journal
The Nine and Sylvanas
Some of the hisitory behind these Nine comes from the
Edge of Night
After the defeat of Arthas, feeling that her purpose for existence was over now that she had her revenge, Sylvanas Windrunner threw herself off the top of Icecrown to meet her second death. She found herself in a hellish place that we assume was the Maw. We now know that it was at this time that she met the Jailer and began to work with him. However, all we knew for many years was that Sylvanas had returned from Icecrown with Val'kyr at her side, all loyal to her and to the cause of keeping her alive. In fact, one had already taken her place in death, allowing her to leave the Maw and return to Azeroth.
Each of The Nine bound themselves to Sylvanas, protecting her fiercely - often at the cost of their own lives.
Annhylde, the Aegis
was the strongest, and she sacrificed herself to save Sylvanas Windrunner from her second death.
Agatha the Blade
Daschla the Mighty
Arthura the Penitent
sacrificed themselves to save Sylvanas during the Story of Silverpine Forest, after she was
betrayed and killed by Lord Godfrey
Aradne, the Fallen
killed by Alliance players
in the Battle for Andorhal during the Story of the Western Plaguelands.
Brynja, the Desolate
killed by the Night Warrior Tyrande Whisperwind
in the lead-up to the Battle for Darkshore.
Kyra, the Unending
Signe, the Voice
Skyja, the First
as Sylvanas Windrunner's only surviving Val'kyr. They stayed by her side and entered the Shadowlands with her. It is these three - the Val'kyr who did not die to reach the Shadowlands - who make up the main part of the Sanctum of Domination boss fight, with the other six offering support from the sidelines.
The Nine and Helya
Chains of Domination storyline
, we encounter Helya while she is busy with a ritual - a ritual in which she was using captured golden Val'kyr of Odyn to empower Annhylde, one of The Nine. By the time we face The Nine in the raid, they have been massively transformed by Helya's ritual.
Chains of Domination: Chapter 3 - Focusing the Eye
The Nine and the Jailer
Some important lore can be gathered from The Nine boss fight in the Sanctum of Domination.
Warning: Spoilers from the Sanctum of Domination raid ahead.
First, we can see that the Nine are still loyal to Sylvanas, to the point where they are willing to die for her. In fact, she is with them when we first enter the encounter room, and commands them to take care of us while she heads deeper into the Sanctum. Second, we can see a deep bond between these Nine Val'kyr. They work together, often calling on each other for support throughout the fight. The trigger that causes Skyja to enter the fight is either one of her sisters reaching low health.
Perhaps most importantly, we learn that the Nine, like Sylvanas, believe the Jailer's ultimate plan is to destroy an unjust reality by changing it. When Skyja dies, ending the fight, her final words are about this plan.
Skyja yells: We will... reshape... it all...
We recently covered the history of Odyn and Helya, specifically the reason why Helya seems to still hate Odyn so much. It's worth remembering that, while today many Vrykul become Val'kyr willingly, that was not always the case.
Centuries ago, when Odyn first decided to create Val’kyr, no one volunteered to be the first, so he decided to force the role on mortal Vrykul. Helya, who was like a daughter to Odyn at the time, strongly objected to this, and even threatened to leave if Odyn went through with it. (In fact, an early version of this questline even had Helya address Odyn as "father".) Seeing her threat as an act of disobedience, Odyn forcibly transformed Helya into his first Val'kyr instead, and then made her do the same to unwilling Vrykul herself.
Odyn, Helya, and the Jailer's Eye - Chains of Domination Story Background
In the cinematic
No More Lies
, featuring a conversation between Sylvanas Windrunner and Anduin Wrynn, Sylvanas can be seen passionately arguing that the Jailer's plan is to tear down an unjust system and replace it with one in which everyone can control their own fate.
Sylvanas: You know the truth. Nothing is fair. Not life, not death.
Sylvanas: So we're going to tear it all down.
Anduin: And what purpose will that serve? Everyone suffers, Sylvanas. But destroying everything will not take away the pain.
Sylvanas: Ah, you misunderstand. We're breaking a system that has always been flawed, and remaking it into one that is just.
Anduin: Do you expect me to believe that, after all this time, you've been fighting for justice?
Sylvanas: How can I convince you? From our first breath to our last, every decision is made for us. Then the afterlife decides what eternity we must endure. We can't even choose who we... We couldn't control anything. But through the Jailer, control of our fate will at last be possible.
It's easy to see why the Val'kyr, twisted and forced by Odyn into servitude against their will just as Helya once was, might also be attracted to a plan like this. Like Sylvanas, their fate was never their own.
It's also interesting to note how Skyja yells "We" will reshape it all - not "he". They, like Sylvanas, seem to have the impression that they are equals to the Jailer, working together with him, rather than servants who kneel before him.
The Sanctum of Domination raid ends with the cinematic in which Sylvanas, at long last, begins to realize that, though the Jailer does indeed plan to tear down the universe, he has no intention of replacing it with a system that is just - he simply wants to replace it with his own. Of course, by the time she realizes it, it's too late - especially for the Nine, who died for this cause. Or did they?
Analysis of of the Sylvanas Cinematic
Dead - Not Gone
Steve Danuser recently confirmed
, once a soul dies and goes to the Shadowlands, if it dies again, that soul is destroyed.
It seems, therefore, significant that we only get the killing blow on the three Val'kyr who did not die to reach the Shadowlands. In other words, the only ones who can still safely risk dying without fearing that it would destroy their souls.
When Kyra dies, she calls out,
Kyra yells: I join... my sisters...
At first, this is a confusing line. Kyra's sisters are all around her - she was already with them when the fight started. Is she perhaps just referring to Val'kyr who have died in general?
But then we remember Kyra never died to reach the Shadowlands. None of the three Val'kyr who we face and kill did. This isn't their permanent death - it's simply the one that would send them to the afterlife. So when they die, their souls are still destined for the Shadowlands. Where they can join their sisters.
While all Nine Val'kyr assist in the fight against us, we never land a killing blow on the six whose souls would disappear if we did. Yet they seem just as powerful and able to fight as the three who we do kill. Surely facing all Nine at once would have been more likely to guarantee a victory? When we kill Skyja, the last of the three that we face, isn't it strange how the other six do not rush in to engage us? Instead, they seem to melt away.
This makes us suspect that the decision to only have us face the three whose souls could still survive the conflict was an intentional tactic, one that specifically prioritized The Nine's survival. Perhaps we will see more of them in the future.
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