|Race||Eternal One (Humanoid)|
|Occupation||Judge of the Shadowlands|
|Location||The Crucible, Oribos|
The Arbiter is an Eternal One who dwells in the Crucible in the city of Oribos and judges all mortal souls that enter the Shadowlands. When a soul is brought before the Arbiter, all of its contents—deeds, misdeeds, thoughts, accomplishments, and failures—are laid bare, absorbed, and understood by her in the merest fraction of a moment. The Arbiter then sends the soul off to one of the infinite realms of the Shadowlands, determined by the soul's character. The souls travel to the various realms through gateways surrounding the Crucible. If the Arbiter didn't exist to send mortal souls to their intended afterlife, they would be lost forever within the infinite realms. The Arbiter and Oribos are tended to by a race of beings known as attendants. The Arbiter herself is ever silent; from among the circle of attendants known as Scholars, an Honored Voice is selected to speak on her behalf. The current Honored Voice is Tal-Inara.
The original Arbiter was the Eternal One Zovaal, but he defied the will of the First Ones and sought to unmake the balance of the cosmos. He tried to seize the sigils of his fellow Eternal Ones by force, believing that they were keys to forbidden knowledge locked within the Sepulcher of the First Ones. As punishment, the other Eternal Ones banished him to the Maw and made him its Jailer. They stripped him of his sigil and his anima and used them to construct a new Arbiter, one that would be dispassionate and just and would take up his role of judging mortal souls. It was later said among the new Arbiter's attendants that the Jailer was filled with hatred for his replacement and that if he killed her, it would mean the end of everything the First Ones made.
At some point during the third invasion of the Burning Legion, an unknown calamity struck the Arbiter, causing her to go dormant and cease directing souls to their just afterlives. Instead, all souls now flow past her to hurtle directly into the Maw. The attendants have tried to unravel this mystery, but with little success. When the Maw Walker arrived in Oribos, the Arbiter briefly stirred but then returned to her dormant state.
After claiming four of the five sigils he was after, the Jailer managed to expand the Maw to envelop Oribos and ascended to the Arbiter's Crucible. There, he merged with her, absorbing her essence and sigil into himself and causing her physical form to dissolve. With his stolen power reclaimed, he opened a portal to the Sepulcher and escaped. With the Arbiter gone, the state of the Shadowlands is undetermined. Though the four covenants had at this point managed to recreate their respective sigils, the Primus needed to find something to replace the Arbiter's sigil as well in order to create a key that would allow him and his allies to pursue Zovaal to the Sepulcher.
- Main article: Audience with the Arbiter#Notes
- The Arbiter may be loosely borrowing from various themes common to most religions, and some fictional sources.
- The notion of the Arbiter judging you immediately upon death (after a Kyrian brings you to Oribos) is representative of the divine judgment concept.
- Her judging you as able to enter the Shadowlands or being cast into the Maw resembles the Ancient Egyptian judgment of the dead, where each person would be judged by Anubis with Thoth as witness against a feather of Maat, and if the person's heart was heavier, they'd be thrown into the maw of Ammit.
- The six ribbons from the Arbiter's back, as well as the way there's two sets of motifs going down her chest, two sets from her back, and another from her lower back covering her "legs" partly, may be a reference to seraphs.
- The idea of an unspeaking, unseen ruler of a city that is at the center of a cosmic plane and connects to all subsequent realms is very much similar to the Lady of Pain within Sigil from Dungeons & Dragons.
- The Arbiter could be the person who helped Vol'jin as he was said to have been saved and "touched by the hand of valor".
- The Breaking the Arbiter cinematic where it showed what happened to the Arbiter, something glowing red slams into her causing her to seize up and pass into unconsciousness. Fans have theorized that this was actually the soul of Argus the Unmaker, Xavius, or Gul'dan, as the soul would have to have died after Ursoc (who was sent to Ardenweald). Another possibility could be that the Arbiter was attacked by Denathrius's own sentient sword Remornia as it also glows red, is able to fly on its own, and has similar sounds as the red orb that attacked the Arbiter.
On the loading screen for Shadowlands.
- Patch 9.0.2 (2020-11-17): Added.
- ^ a b Thrall says: We thought the Jailer was coming to slay the Arbiter. But he... absorbed her essence. / Bolvar Fordragon says: As if her power--and the sigil--were his all along.
- ^ a b Blizzard Entertainment 2019-11-01. World of Warcraft: What’s Next Panel Recap. Retrieved on 2019-11-02.
- ^ a b c d e
- ^ The Art of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, pg. 27
- ^ a b Blizzard Entertainment 2020-05-21. Shadowlands Preview: Oribos. Archived from the original on 2020-05-21.
- ^ a b c
- ^ Azeroth Radio 2019-11-03. John Hight & Johnny Cash SHADOWLANDS Interview! | BLIZZCON 2019! (06:57). YouTube. Retrieved on 2019-11-07.
- ^ Lore Book: What Lies Ahead
- ^ Sanctum of Domination ending cinematic
Arbiter of the Shadowlands