Here are some author’s notes for two stories I posted on Argent Archives. Before I proceed, however, I should make one thing absolutely clear:
There is no canon.
To me, Argent Dawn is a collaborative storytelling project, and it’s not my intent to force other players to accept any kind of headcanon regarding the history of Azeroth, night elf culture, or the way the Kirin Tor operates.
By her very calling as a kaldorei historian, Lintian is interested in getting answers to questions that we players don’t know, because Blizzard doesn’t tell us. This means she isn’t going to get answers, or she’s going to get wrong answers and be mistaken in-universe, or maybe she’s going to get correct answers but never reveal them in RP. I try to make her writing account for these possibilities.
These two texts, in my mind, exist as written works in-universe, but the context behind them is open to your imagination, and you can interpret them according to your beliefs about the Warcraft setting. I’m deliberately not locking any interpretations as the definite word of the author.
The stories represent two activities Lintian was engaged in during the three-year timeskip, as a Dalaran apprentice: collecting kaldorei folklore across the world, including non-Sisterhood Elune lore, and trying to understand the true nature of phenomena of interest to her, including Shadowmeld. I foreshadowed both of these activities in pre-timeskip RP.
“Dream and Nightmare”
The idea here is that Lintian is compiling a single consistent narrative out of fragmentary and contradictory kaldorei myths and historical tales, something like a kaldorei Silmarillion. To her, this is a creation myth, an in-universe story, and it doesn’t necessarily reflect her beliefs about the literal origin of the cosmos. (For one, she probably doesn’t place Azeroth at the center of the universe!)
Dreams have always been fascinating to me because dream worlds are a curious example of “your mind makes it real”. Sometimes, when I dream, my fears that something bad will happen cause that bad thing to happen. It seemed fitting to introduce that theme here.
Any mythology where the gods are basically good sooner or later has to tackle the problem of evil. Final Fantasy XIV resolved that to my great satisfaction; some other fantasy settings less so. Here, in the context of this story, the reason evil exists in the Warcraft universe in a tangible form, and in fact the reason that the entire Warcraft universe exists at all, is that a dreaming deity’s fears for the safety of her creations became a self-fulfilling prophecy. It ties with one of the central themes of Lintian RP: “nobody is at fault, everybody is at fault”.
I originally used the pronoun “they” for Azeroth in the draft, but changed it to “she”. While I myself am not particularly keen on the creator of the whole universe having a definite gender, it would make sense for a matriarchal culture to personify Azeroth that way, especially considering that we players already know that the world-soul is female (even if Lintian doesn’t know IC that the world-soul even exists, and neither, probably, did the authors of the myths she compiled).
The words “KILL CONSUME MULTIPLY CONQUER” and the idea of two opposing forces working their influence on living beings were taken from Scott Alexander’s short story “The Goddess of Everything Else”, which is itself about the real-world natural process of evolution and emergence of cooperation. There is also an animated adaptation here.
This story sets up a relationship between Azeroth, Elune, the Titans, and the Emerald Dream that will become important if I get around to writing sequels (and I intend to). Notably, Azeroth here is not herself a Titan; she created them. My author intent was that the story is wrong about this, as I wrote it before the reveal of the Worldsoul Saga and the ending of Dragonflight hinting that she indeed might not be.
This document is, of course, an homage to the SCP Foundation collaborative writing project, done roughly in the style of an SCP entry. Beyond this, however, many of the details are intentionally left vague. Just like with the SCP Foundation, there is no canon.
The real point here is that Lintian treats all Sisterhood dogma as suspect and would rather find her own answers. She has been experimenting with Shadowmeld as part of a larger team, and trying to establish the true nature and origin of that power. She probably still doesn’t have definite answers. Everything else here is up to interpretation.
- “UPF”, as stated at the beginning of the document, stands for “Unexplained Phenomenon File”.
- This can be a standard type of research document or just a format used by that specific research team, not representative of the Kirin Tor as a whole. The numbers may be sequential or assigned essentially at random; the number doesn’t necessary mean that the team in charge of these “UPF” documents has already catalogued 6,235 other unexplained phenomena before Elune and Shadowmeld.
- “C6-1” is, of course, Khadgar; it’s a reference to the O5 Council, the leaders of the SCP Foundation identified only by their designations from O5-1 to O5-13.
- The redesignation of Elune as UPF-6236-EX implies that the Kirin Tor considers her an explained phenomenon, or at least they think they have an explanation.
- What exactly happened in the [CLASSIFIED] tests? I have my own headcanon, but I’m not telling. They’re classified specifically to avoid treading on other people’s headcanon. They’re all edge cases: a city elf, a Light-worshiping night elf, and an Elune-worshiping Gilnean worgen. We don’t know what would happen if they tried to shadowmeld.
- The last entry is an implication that whatever Lintian asked Acheleus to do, and whatever happened as a result, confused the document writers so much that they were just like, “Let’s never speak of it again.” The outcome might have been as fantastic or as mundane as you’d prefer to imagine. It wasn’t even classified — it was completely struck from the record.
So where does Shadowmeld come from? We as players don’t have a definite answer, Blizzard likely isn’t telling, and our headcanons may conflict. It might indeed be a divine gift from Elune, or a result of long-term exposure to moonwells (which channel Elune’s divine magic, but also contain diluted arcane energy of the Well of Eternity), or simply an innate ability intrinsic to night elves that stays with them regardless of what they do, and something other races cannot do, period. It’s up to what you believe, and the research document is compatible with all these possibilities.