Sylvanas is Wielding Xal’atath
During the 8.2 panel, Blizzard had a slide featuring major characters within the upcoming story. It seems the Rise of Azshara may feature more than one leader ascending to power. They were all adorned with their iconic weapons and armor, except for Sylvanas. Instead, the banshee queen was wielding the Blade of the Black Empire: Xal’atath
Who is Xal’atath?
Xal’atath accompanied shadow priests during Legion. She absorbed high quantities of power alongside her priest; however, absorbing the corruption of Sargeras’ sword was detrimental, as Xal’atath is fundamentally a being of the void. Fel and void mix like oil and water, and so the blade was lost.
Yet, the player finds the dagger later in Battle for Azeroth. Xal’atath then plays a prominent role in 8.1, specifically during the events surrounding the Crucible of Storms. In Tides of Vengeance, we free Xal’atath from her dagger-prison. She mocks us upon being freed saying,
“I can feel this world writhing in pain beneath my feet. I can taste your fear on my tongue.
You gave me this. The sword loosened our seals, but your blind trust gave me the power I needed.”
How Did the Blade of the Black Empire Become the Weapon of a Warchief?
Though Blizzard has said Sylvanas will not parallel the fall of Garrosh, all evidence points to a similar fate. When Garossh was corrupted by the Old Gods, he wielded Xal’atoh. Similar to Xal’atath, the desecrated Gorehowl also whispered to the player.
So perhaps Sylvanas has been corrupted; or, she may be trying to master the void to her own will. Sylvanas’ arrogance is high like a mountain and her methods are low like a trench. She may see no problem in using a dangerous weapon as a pawn.
And yet, Sylvanas may be an unwitting pawn. Xal’atath is a master of deception. She has manipulated countless mortals to do her bidding, promising them power only to betray them when it is convenient. Xal’atath will likely try a similar move with Sylvanas; although Sylvanas is not mortal.
Indeed, Sylvanas has an obsession with death like no other character. Claiming she wants to master death, her efforts worry other entities of death like the Lich King and Bwonsamdi. They see her methods as meddlesome. The player learns from the Lich King that she is upsetting the balance. Could he imply the balance of light and void?
This seems plausible, but the void has a notable hatred for undeath. Neither Xal’atath nor Sylvanas seem entirely compatible with one another. Their alliance may be one of mutual convenience, with each hoping to play the hand of betrayal when the time is right.
The implications to the narrative are huge and will be felt for many more expansions. What do you think of this dark union? Has the Banshee Queen embraced the Black Empire?