Friday, September 19, 2014

Could It Be Ny'alotha

Friday! Yes you can have that smile on your face because the work week is coming to a close. I know I have been busy reading many of your submissions for the reader post this week, but one really caught my eye. Risingforce sent in some thoughts on a location which takes place in the Well of Eternity series which has always puzzled me. I know on various occasions I have had many discussions on what this place could actually be. I will leave you with Risingforce and his thoughts.

Please forgive me if this topic has already been discussed -and I'd be ever so grateful for any further reading on the matter -but having searched Wikis, Google, WoWInsider and Scrolls of Lore I still haven't found an answer on something that's left me curious for years since first reading it. A landmass is visited by Rhonin and Korialstrasz over The Great Sea as refuge on their travels to Kalimdor in the beginnings of The Well of Eternity. The island is soon revealed as somewhat of a Lovecraftian nightmare whilst the identity thereof is only hinted at and never revealed.

Chapter Three (around page 16), begins:

"Impossible as it seemed, somewhere along the way Rhonin fell asleep. Despite that, even then he did not tumble from his seat to certain death. Korialstrasz certainly had something to do with that, although to all appearances the dragon appeared to be flying blithely along."

The sun had nearly set. Rhonin was about to ask his companion if he intended to fly through the night when Korialstrasz began to descend. Peering down, the wizard at first sighted only water, surely the Great Sea. He did not recall red dragons being very aquatic. Did Korialstrasz intend to land like a duck upon the water?

A moment later, his question was answered as an ominous rock appeared in the distance. No…not a rock, but an island almost entirely bare of vegetation
The scene is setup with Rhonin and Korialstrasz seeking refuge on a landmass whilst traversing The Great Sea, the location is unknown to the reader and not revealed since though we are told later this is certainly not Tol Barad. Rhonin, upon landing on the 'island' is immediately "swept over" with a feeling of dread. Here, Rhonin experiences "the same kind of horrific, mournful cries again" similar to that of what he felt passing over Tol Barad.

Clues we are given of the landmass:

  • "Too small for a city"
  • "a series of shadowed, ruined structures"
  • It could have been “a fort or perhaps even a walled estate"
  • Korialstrasz to Rhonin: "Something tragic happened here"a horrific, hissing sound beset [Rhonin's] ears" upon waking from a nightmare

For the location, we are given a clue:

Korialstrasz: “We must pass near the Maelstrom to reach Kalimdor, and we will need our full wits and strength about us for that. This is the only island I have seen for some time.”
Rhonin: “What's it called?”
Korialstrasz: “That knowledge is not mine.”

One of the island's inhabitants is described, upon Rhonin's wakening from a slumber:

If someone had taken a human skull, dipped it in soft, melting wax and let that wax drip free, that would have come close to describing the gut-wrenching vision at which Rhonin stared. Add to that needle-shaped teeth filling the mouth, along with red, soulless orbs that glared hungrily at the wizard, and the picture of hellish horror was made complete.

The assailant is described further, moving towards Rhonin with "legs much too long", with "bony arms that ended in three long, curved fingers" wearing over its macabre form "ripped remnants of a once-regal coat and pants." The identity of the assailant is hinted at, with K saying to R: “I believe it was once one of those who called this home.”

Of the assailant, Rhonin asks if it was the work of the Scourge to with Korialstrasz replies “No…this is much older…and even more unholy an act than the Lich King ever perpetrated.”

We are told next that there are others:

“Kras—Korialstrasz, it entered my dreams! Manipulated them!”
“Yes, the others sought to do the same with me—”

Korialstrasz to Rhonin, on leaving the landmass: “We are safe…for the time being. Several are now less than what remains of yours and the rest have scattered into every crevice and gap in these ruins. I believe there are cata-combs below and that they slumber there when not hunting victims.”

So, this passage really stayed with me  but I think the curiosity remained because it was such an abstract in the narrative and not returned to. I expected to find more information about its location but I believe that passage in the Well of Eternity is all we are given.

There are a few clues and even facts we can gather, it is certainly not Tol Barad nor Nazjatar. Maybe it was part of the Broken Isles, but then the Broken Isles should be quite too close to the Maelstrom -and we are told through Korialstrasz's dialogue that our protagonists have not yet reached that far. I guess an academic response is that the landmass could what remains of the Kul'Tiras navy's attempt to establish a base on one of the Broken Isles -an exercise that would be met with doom.

Personally, I believe that Rhonin and happened upon the infamous Ny'alotha.

I think the hints we have been given within WoW pertaining to Ny'alotha also compliment the narrative and explain away the abstract treatment we are given within The Well of Eternity:

From the Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron:

In the land of Ny'alotha there is only sleep... In the sleeping city of Ny'alotha walk only mad things. Ny'alotha is a city of old, terrible, unnumbered crimes...
*snip* In the sleeping city of Ny'alotha walk only mad things. Ny'alotha is a city of old, terrible, unnumbered crimes.

One way of approaching the identity of the landmass as Ny'alotha is perhaps to suggest that the abstract within The Well of Eternity (book) only visits an outcrop of it, certainly the rocky mass Rhonin aspies on approach would not be big enough to represent the epic that should be Ny'alotha. Of course Ny'alotha can be wildly speculated endlessly as to its definition, origin, location, accountability, existence -or plane of! -but my curiosity has always tied this brief abstract to the work of Old Gods, and I hope you will too.

Whether my humble speculation is wildly flawed -or not, I invite all opinions! -I think it's a nice passage and would be fun to explore any discussion around what may have happened to this island and its inhabitants, its location and what may lay there in waiting now. If a location or any facts can be confirmed then you'd be solving a longstanding curiosity!

So my Lore friends what are your thoughts? I know this theory has sparked some interest for me.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting take. I think I will have to reread this section of the book.