- "Celestials" redirects here. For the world boss encounters, see Chi-Ji (tactics), Niuzao (tactics), Xuen (tactics), and Yu'lon (tactics). For the in-game faction, see August Celestials.
“Dear ones, wisdom, fortitude, strength, and hope cannot be learned in death.”
- — Chi-Ji, August Celestial of Hope
The August Celestials (also known as the August Ones or simply the celestials) are four powerful Wild Gods who dwell in and watch over Pandaria. They consist of Chi-Ji, the Red Crane, Niuzao, the Black Ox, Xuen, the White Tiger, and Yu'lon, the Jade Serpent.
Each Celestial possesses a temple dedicated to them.
- The Temple of the Red Crane in Krasarang Wilds, southern Pandaria, is dedicated to Chi-Ji and houses the Crane Wing order.
- Niuzao Temple in Townlong Steppes, western Pandaria, is dedicated to Niuzao and houses the Niuzao sentinels.
- The Temple of the White Tiger in Kun-Lai Summit, northern Pandaria, is dedicated to Xuen.
- The Temple of the Jade Serpent in the Jade Forest, eastern Pandaria, is dedicated to Yu'lon and houses the Order of the Cloud Serpent.
Much like the other Wild Gods, Chi-Ji, Niuzao, Xuen, and Yu'lon emerged from the great enclaves of life created by Freya during the ordering of Azeroth. They were drawn to and gathered near the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, and Freya noticed that these four shared a deep commitment to peace and wisdom. She knew their compassion would aid the region well. One day, the Keeper came to the celestials with concern in her heart. There was a great darkness in the north, and she believed a confrontation was near. She gave them her staff for safekeeping. Freya never returned, and Yu'lon, the Jade Serpent, vowed to keep the staff safe.
Under their care, many different life forms emerged near the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Among them were the wise jinyu, the mischievous hozen, and the peaceful pandaren. They worshipped the August Celestials, and in return, the spirits offered them knowledge and guidance. For a time, there was peace.
During the Age of a Hundred Kings, 15,000 years before the opening of the Dark Portal, numerous races settled in the lands surrounding the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. This emergence of life piqued the interest of the four Wild Gods, and though they were troubled by the mogu's constant warfare, they grew to enjoy watching the other races flourish. One race in particular, the wise pandaren, developed close ties with Xuen and his fellow Wild Gods due to their peaceful nature. Referring to the four Wild Gods as the "August Celestials", the pandaren developed a system of worship and philosophy centered around the powerful beings.
The Thunder King's conquest
During the reign of Lei Shen, the mogu empire would seize Pandaria from the celestials. Xuen attempted to protect the people of Kun-Lai Summit from the Thunder King's rule. The battle ended with Xuen's defeat and imprisonment. Niuzao also faced the Mogu in combat, but failed was imprisoned as well. Chi-Ji was captured and used to mock the despairing Pandaren slaves. Lastly, Yu'lon was struck down by Lei Shen's lightning, only surviving by transferring her essence into a jade statue of herself in Serpent's Heart.
The celestials would build temples to train monks in their respective styles after the Pandaren revolution. Niuzao emphasized fortitude in his teachings, the strength to endure any hardship. Xuen taught strength and how physical prowess was not the same as true inner strength. Chi-Ji espoused the importance of hope, even in the darkest of times. Yu'lon spoke of the wisdom of knowing when, and when not, to act.
The Burdens of Shaohao
After being crowned ruler of Pandaria, Emperor Shaohao received a prophecy from a Jinyu Waterspeaker that showed a disasterous future for the world. Shaohao then traveled to the four corners of Pandaria, receiving wisdom from each of the Celestials that would help him overcome his negative emotions, become one with the land, and save his people. He learned to conquer his doubt from Yu'lon, his despair from Chi-Ji, his fear from Niuzao, and his anger, violence, and hatred from Xuen. Believed to now be a being of complete harmony by all, including himself, he used his newfound power to withdraw Pandaria from the world before the Great Sundering could destroy it. However, even the Celestials did not know this was all the doing of the Sha of Pride, who cloaked Pandaria in mists, isolating it and ensuring a future of stagnation for all who lived within. The Celestials would continue doing their best to protect Pandaria from the mogu and mantid armies for 10,000 years before the Sha of Pride's mist would dissipate following the Cataclysm.
The Sha of Pride's mist disappeared as the Alliance-Horde war was continually intensifying under Warchief Garrosh Hellscream and King Varian Wrynn, with the former becoming more prideful and tyrannical and the latter becoming more fair under the influence of his son. As General Nazgrim and Admiral Taylor led their forces against each other in the Jade Forest, the Sha Primes began to erupt across the continent.
The Sha of Doubt attacked the Temple of the Jade Serpent, corrupting her servants and priests until killed by adventurers, as Yu'lon believed they would. Yu'lon proved kind and forgiving toward the outsiders and guided them toward the Valley of the Four Winds. The heroes would eventually come across the Temple of the Red Crane, where Chi'ji had succumbed to the Sha of Despair. Aided by Anduin Wrynn and Koro Mistwalker, the Sha of Despair was vanquished and Chi'ji thanked the brave heroes, promising them his support. He would later allow adventurers to participate with his monks in training at the Cradle of Chi-Ji. Later, Xuen would become convinced by the Horde and Alliance that the sha must no longer be contained, but faced and defeated, and that the Vale of Eternal Blossoms should be opened. After the four celestials united and opened the gates of the Vale, the Shao-Tien Mogu rushed the vale as well, stealing the three treasures of the Thunder King. The celestials would later grant their blessings to the heroes and the Golden Lotus to drive them back and kill their leader Zhao-Jin the Bloodletter. As the Sha of Fear continued to use the Mantid and their empress as his puppets against the Pandaren, Niuzao was besieged by the Shan'ze Mogu led by the Thunder King's herald Shan Bu. The Shado-Pan receive aide from the heroes, free Niuzao from Shan Bu's grasp, and force the Mantid and Mogu back. The celestials (or at least their essences) aided in the fall of the Thunder King during the Twin Consorts battle. After the remaining Sha Primes, not counting Pride who had yet to reveal itself, are killed, the young black dragon Wrathion sought wisdom from each of the celestials in his quest to better understand how to prepare the world for the coming conflict with the Burning Legion. Finally, after the Siege of Orgrimmar had ended, the August Celestials joined the heroes and Lorewalker Cho to witness Emperor Shaohao planting a magic tree in the Vale of Eternal Sorrows, providing hope that the vale would one day heal. Speaking with Yu'lon afterward, the player finds that Pandaria will no longer have to live in fear of the seven breaths of Y'Shaarj, declaring the threat of the Sha to be over.
Visions of N'Zoth
Notes and trivia
- Like the Dragon Aspects, the August Celestials have the ability to take on mortal forms. Yu'lon's pandaren disguise is known as Fei, and Chi-Ji has been known to take the form of a pandaren named Fat Long-Fat. During the trial of Garrosh Hellscream, Niuzao took on the form of a glowing tauren, Chi-Ji a red-headed blood elf with golden wings like a cape, and Xuen a pale blue human with white and black stripes on his skin and in his hair. Xuen's son Ban-Lu also possesses this ability and can disguise himself as Master Bu.
- Although they are Wild Gods, it is unclear if the Celestials visit the Emerald Dream.
- The Celestials are apparently based on the four symbols of Chinese mythology, with the Black Ox replacing the Black Tortoise and exchanging cardinal directions with the White Tiger.
- There were four clans themed after the August Celestials concepted during the Mists of Pandaria development the Jade Serpent clan, Black Ox clan, Red Crane clan and White Tiger clan, they evolved into other factions the Order of the Cloud Serpent, the Niuzao sentinels, the Crane Wing order and the unnamed members of the Temple of the White Tiger.
- ^ War Crimes, chapter 6
- ^ War Crimes, chapter 1
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1
- ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter (2014-05-08): "Celestials are Wild Gods, like the Ancients. They just stayed in Pandaria."
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 39 - 40
- ^ The Chronicle of Ages#Fu Zan, the Wanderer's Companion
- ^ The Chronicle of Ages#Sheilun, Staff of the Mists
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 78
- ^ War Crimes
- ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter (2013-03-12): "The August Celestials are very much like the ancients (Goldrinn, Tortolla, etc). Unclear if they visit the dream, tho"