|Faction/Affiliation||Independent, Heartsbane Coven, Thornspeakers|
|Character classes||Evoker, Druid, Warrior|
|Formerly||Gorak Tul †|
|Area(s)||Thros, Kul Tiras (Drustvar, Tiragarde Sound, Fate's End), Ardenweald (Darkreach, Tirna Noch, Eventide Grove, Blackbriar Grove, Heartwood Grove)|
|Sources: Battle for Azeroth|
The Drust were a population of seafaring vrykul who some time after the Sundering settled on the island of Kul Tiras. They wielded powerful death magic and mainly lived in Drustvar, but also resided in several areas of Tiragarde Sound and to lesser extent Stormsong Valley; to this day, their ruins and ancient roads can be seen throughout the island. When human sailors from Gilneas arrived in Kul Tiras around 2,700 years ago, the Drust king Gorak Tul led his people into war against the human settlers. However, not all Drust agreed with the war, and the druidic Thornspeakers left Drust society to side with the humans.
Gorak Tul eventually lost the conflict, and his Drust were almost all slain by the human invaders. However, Gorak Tul called upon the dark powers of Thros, the Blighted Lands, where the Drust's spirits found refuge. Since then, they have slowly been trying to make their way back to the mortal world. During the Fourth War, they made a pact with Lady Waycrest, helping her save her dying husband in exchange for assisting them. On the Drust's part, all they desired was vengeance against her people. Following this pact, Waycrest began wielding Drust magic and formed the Heartsbane Coven, an order of witches who began terrorizing the people of Drustvar and worked to summon Gorak Tul back into the realm of the living.
Gorak Tul's efforts on Kul Tiras were eventually thwarted, but the Drust have reappeared in large numbers in the Shadowlands, where they are attempting to invade the realm of Ardenweald from Thros, led by nightscreamer Gorak Zhar.
Some vrykul settlements were scattered prior to the Great Sundering. After the Sundering, various vrykul tribes set out for the seas, and one such population of seafaring vrykul settled on Kul Tiras.
Before the reign of Gorak Tul, the Drust practiced druidism. In the opinion of the druids, Gorak Tul's twisted ways brought disgrace to the Drust. Gorak Tul, their sorcerer king, was the one who perverted the druidic rituals of the Drust and set their people upon the path of death and domination. The Drust fought many enemies over their history, including beings that looked like themselves or great beasts, smaller beings that resembled gnomes in stature, and naga.
Around 2,700 years ago, humans from Gilneas arrived on the island, which they would later call Kul Tiras. The humans tried for peace with the Drust, but the latter went to war immediately, aggressively launching raids against the humans' fledgling hamlets from Drustvar. The Drust barbarians glorified the slaughter, attacking unarmed civilians. It was during this war that the Drust tapped into Thros, the Blighted Lands.
Only a few of the Drust tolerated new neighbors. A member of the druidic Thornspeakers by the name of Sef Iwen protested the brutality of Gorak Tul, stating that the Drust could live in harmony with the humans if they tried. Tul gave Iwen the choice to either submit or "hide in the woods forever". Iwen chose the latter, believing Tul meant exile, but instead the king tore her soul from her body, cursing her to forever haunt the woods later called the Glenbrook Hunting Grounds and using her death as an example to scare other dissidents into submission. This act of brutality alongside the others that Tul continued to enact upon the humans ultimately led to the Thornspeakers leaving the Drust to join Kul Tiran society. Some of the humans' Kul Tiran descendants heard the call of the wilds and sought to learn the ancient ways, and so the Drust Thornspeakers taught them the ways of druidism.
The Drust assaults carried on for many years until the ancestors of House Waycrest decided something had to be done and began a war against the Drust. But though the Waycrests were hearty folk, the Drust's death magic was strong and the humans began to lose the war. The Waycrests researched their magic and created the Order of Embers to fight them. To counter the Drust magic, the Order of Embers used weapons of silver and rowan wood, the latter of which is not found in Drustvar. A complex alchemical solution called Liquid Fire was a weapon used to "burn away the Drust".
In time the Drust would be forced to withdraw as they lost numbers to the human settlers. As the war went on, the desperate Drust called onto dark powers. Unbeknownst to them, they had reached the Emerald Nightmare. Their fallen warriors would find refuge in Thros, an offshoot of the Nightmare which they named differently as they were not aware of what the Nightmare was. When their great leader Gorak Tul ran out of living warriors, he conducted a ritual to create stone constructs to fight for him as part of his desperation to win. The Drust settlement of Gol Osigr would become the place of their final defeat. Colonel Arom Waycrest, who later became the first Lord of Drustvar, led the humans' final assault on the Drust and stabbed Gorak Tul himself. As he was stabbed Gorak Tul's power was broken and, with it, his connection to his stone constructs which shattered. But though wounded and broken, Gorak Tul did not die.
In modern times, the story has been warped. The modern Kul Tirans believe that the stone constructs were used for a longer period than just near the end of the war, that Arom had killed Gorak Tul, and that Gorak Tul's living army fell soon after his death instead of earlier on.
The Drust would live on as spirits, trying to return to the physical world. The Waycrests had wiped out the Drust, but could not destroy Gorak Tul. For countless years he waited to enact his vengeance from within Thros, until Lady Waycrest provided the means.
Battle for Azeroth
Stricken with grief due to her ailing husband Arthur, Lady Waycrest called out to any power that could save him. Gorak Tul answered her cry and promised that death would never part the couple, for a price. Gorak Tul taught the Drust's ancient death magic to Lady Waycrest, who in turn formed the Heartsbane Coven. The coven's magic awakened the remaining stone constructs and stirred the Drust's spirits, drawing them back to fight once more as skeletons. Other Drust spirits were put into wicker constructs. During the events of the Kul Tiran civil war, the Heartsbane Coven of witches had started to go beyond constructing dark constructs, by conjuring the Drust physically through nightmarish rituals. They were stopped by the Order of Embers before they could be unleashed upon Drustvar. Gorak Tul himself summoned many twisted Drust fiends during his confrontation with mortals at Waycrest Manor, and while the Order of Embers had stopped them from being unleashed upon Drustvar, several could still be found stalking the area.
But Lady Waycrest was merely a vessel for Gorak Tul's power, and her death opened the Rupture, the doorway for the Drust to enter Azeroth. At the Rupture Gorak Tul was able to raise his people from the dead, but he was slain nonetheless. However, upon his death Gorak Tul revealed that it was only a vessel and he still existed in the Blighted Lands. Even so, the Heartsbane Coven was broken and Drustvar was released from Gorak Tul's power.
When Jaina Proudmoore was exiled to Fate's End by her own mother Katherine, Gorak Tul captured her and dragged her into Thros. When the people of Kul Tiras sought to rescue Jaina and turned to the Drust druid Ulfar for help, Gorak Tul attacked him and the Thornspeakers to whom he had taught the Drust's ways. Gorak Tul was not happy that Ulfar had shared their gifts with the humans, but Ulfar himself saw Gorak Tul's twisted ways as bringing disgrace to the Drust. Later, the Herald of Gorak Tul announced the return of the Drust's master to Katherine Proudmoore on her quest to find Jaina. Within Thros, Jaina was being tormented by memories of her past. After she was saved by her mother, Jaina and the adventurer slew Gorak Tul in his own domain.
With the drought weakening the guardians of Ardenweald, the ancient Drust have seized the opportunity to invade from their nightmarish realm of Thros. The decaying groves of Ardenweald are what drew the Drust there. Using their twisted form of druidism to feed upon the dying groves, the Drust grow stronger with every wildseed that perishes. Though relatively few in number, the Drust are using dark rituals to pull the native fae into their forces. Cursed to exist outside the cycle of life and death, the Drust now seek to circumvent their fate using Ardenweald's mechanisms of Rebirth. According to Marasmius and the vorkai Janda and Zarkin, the Drust had invaded Ardenweald before, long ago such that almost everyone has either forgotten or the story has become a myth to the night fae.
To save the sylvar Gweyir from a Drust curse, the adventurer is told by Ysera to work with Ulfar, who she once knew. Ulfar directs the adventurer to his long-dead former teacher Kivarr with a fetish that contains Gorak Tul's power, who after saving her agrees to help but requires additional reagents, including a plant called nox root that only grows in Drust corrupted soil, and some other reagents from Ardenweald. Reagents from the Shadowlands are necessary in attempting to break a Drust curse. However, this was rendered moot as Gorak Zhar's power was too great, thereby ensuring that there was no way to save those possessed by the Drust.
As part of the Drust gambit to attack the Grove of Awakening, the captured Ara'lon was bent to Gorak Zhar's will. The Drust used their magic to make it seem as if Ara'lon was Gorak Zhar, which caused the Wild Hunt to focus their attention on the Darkeach. While the Wild Hunt battled Durst in the Darkeach, Gorak Zhar led her forces claiming the Grove of Awakening. Unbeknownst to the Drust, when Ara'lon was mortally wounded it broke their hold over him, and he revealed their ruse. The Winter Queen subsequently led a counter-attack to reclaim the grove, which ended with Gorak Zhar's death, and the Drust pushed out of Ardenweald.
- Tomes were often kept by the strongest of the Drust, preserving the incantations of their magics and serving as conduits for harnessing their power. Scholars have tried to translate the ancient language transcribed within these tomes, only to find themselves going mad as they furthered their understanding of what had been written.
- The Drust would often use various animals in their rituals, mostly for their organs. Bonesaws were pivotal in breaking through some of the larger animals' rib cages in order to extract the heart of the beast.
- When the Drust wished to enchant the minds of their enemies, or prey, they would often do so subtly by leaving small tokens around their targets. Curious objects, when focused on by the holder, would summon a haunting vision of a dancing spectre. This spectre would entrance all who watched it, rendering them docile and easy to dispatch.
- Many tools have been discovered that the Drust used in their rituals. One such tool was a sickle, used for ripping through the bellies of their sacrifices, spilling their entrails and allowing the Drust to use their organs in dark rituals.
- Used to inflict doubt in the enemies of the Drust, this fetish was paramount for twisting the minds of their enemies. Those afflicted would question their motivations, their ideals, or their courage and would often find themselves at the end of a Drust blade before finally rediscovering their resolve.
- Used for both combat and ancient ceremonies, the blades of the Drust are fearsome objects. When wielded by a Drust, this blade can quickly find it's way into any vital organ within a matter of seconds.
- As the Drust became more skilled at trapping souls within objects, so did they become more adept at creating constructs of death in which to trap the souls. Revenants are amongst the fiercest of these creatures. Their bodies constructed from pieces that can no longer decompose, these creatures never tire and will hunt their prey for all eternity.
- When the Drust were first learning to attach souls into constructs, they used the bones of their dead as hosts. Once the ritual was complete, these fetishes were said to glow with an eerie blue glow, presumably with the essence of the soul's power made manifest.
- When a soul is called from the afterlife, it is free to roam the material realm if it is not restrained within moments of its arrival. The Drust created prisons for these souls for later use in their dark rituals, during which time the soul would suffer within, become a twisted version of what it once had been.
- Since time immemorial, the Drust have used runes to shape their magics. This remains true of the spells woven by Gorak Tul and his ilk.
- The Drust's bodies and skeletons are marked with magical runes in Drust language.
- Drust sacrifices included great horned creatures, possibly stags but possibly something else.
- The Drust worshiped a great tree, Gol Inath.
- Drust shrines to various creatures can be found throughout Drustvar. This includes a stag shrine at Gol Osigr, possibly in reverence to Athair. Numerous plinths can also be found near Greenstalker and a final shrine can be found at Vadekius's Rest, depicting a dragon. This may have indicated the worship of these creatures.
- The Drust are able to control others' minds by placing masks on them. With enough time, the masks will transform their victims to be twisted by Thros just like the Drust.
The Drust are originally vrykul. The Thornspeakers were the only remaining source of uncorrupted Drust; with the last surviving one being Ulfar (who does not leave his bear form). Sef Iwen's ghost can be interacted with, and she resembles a vrykul.
Their leader Gorak Tul called upon the power of Thros, the Blighted Lands, which transformed Gorak Tul and his followers. Their appearance can vary but they all usually have tree-like growths and bark-like skin.
Few Drust, such as Gorak Tul, have a hulking bodytype, although Gorak Tul also had unique mutations such as his additional eyes and a sprawling mouth.
Many Drust have a slender physique, like Lorkron the Hunter, and their entire body and face is covered with the wood-like material. Their hair is flowing with Thros' energy. When night fae are possessed with a Drust mask for too long, they also turn into this type of Drust.
Most Drust resemble fiends that crawl along the ground, such as the Herald of Gorak Tul. The magic of Thros seems to have warped them to the point that they hold little resemblance to their original vrykul forms, and to have seriously twisted their limbs and overtaken their head completely, replacing their mouth with a gaping maw. They are one of the few Drust seen on Azeroth, other than Gorak Tul and the Thornspeakers.
Female Drust can also appear as Matron-like, floating women stained with the energy of Thros, though they don't have the tree-like qualities that most Drust possess.
- Awakened Dead
- Drust Evoker
- Fallen Defender
- Vengeful Bones
- Blighted Deciever
- Blighted Fiend
- Blighted Haunter
- Blighted Horror
- Blighted Monstrosity
- Deathtouched Slaver
- Gloom Horror
Notes and trivia
- Ardenweald in the Shadowlands is deeply connected to the Drust who come from the land of death. The death and domination that Gorak Tul tapped into seems to be tied to the Shadowlands, given a curse derived from this power can only be broken in part with reagents from the Shadowlands.
- The only two examples of living, non-resurrected, Drust are remarkably long-lived. Ulfar has been alive since the time of the war with Arom Waycrest, as has Gorak Tul. While possibly sustained by magic in both accounts, they are both over two thousand years old.
- It was only confirmed at a later point that the Drust were vrykul. Prior to that, several elements hinted at it. The concept art shown at BlizzCon 2017 resembled a tattooed, slouched vrykul wearing animal fur and limbs. The Drust architecture concept art also greatly resembled vrykul architecture from Wrath of the Lich King concept artwork, and their buildings and structures re-use the Stormheim vrykul's Bonespeaker building models, and are etched with the same runes and patterns as the vrykul's. Their giant and revenant stone constructs are also engraved with vrykul runes and patterns.
- In the Battle for Azeroth alpha, during Drust used a mix of human and vrykul models wearing primitive outfits. In the final version of the game, they use pale human models. It was confirmed later at BlizzCon 2018 that Drust were indeed vrykul.
- The Old Drust Road and Gol Thovas in Tiragarde Sound and Fate's End in Stormsong Valley (as well as the archaeological dig sites in these regions) show that the Drust's presence on Kul Tiras spread further than Drustvar.
- The Drust's magic was called "druidic death magic" when they were first introduced at BlizzCon 2017. This appears to be in reference to Thros' origins concerning the Emerald Nightmare.
- An interview later said that the "Drust magic is a more macabre version of druid magic".
- Early in development, the developers had the idea of Drust shaman who would use a magic powder to see into a spirit world where they would look like magical beasts.
- During the beta for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, the new slender Drust NPCs used the botani model as a placeholder.
- During his first appearance, Ingra Drif mistakenly still uses this placeholder botani model. He appears later on in the Night Fae Campaign with a correct Drust model.
- The new slender Drust model uses the botani model's animations.
- The Drust are largely inspired by Scandinavian, Germanic, and Norse cultures and mythologies.
- The names Ulfar and Iwen are seen in the North European region languages.
- "Ingra" is likely derived from "Ingram", which means "Yngvi's raven".
- Their being originally vrykul (also based upon Nordic cultures) and their use of runes gestures to inspirations from Old Norse religion.
- Ingra Maloch is also likely a reference to Moloch; the fact the masks used by the Drust in Ardenweald resemble bulls may also be inspired by this.
- The association of dark Druids with the Lovecraftian horror based Old Gods may be derived from their association in some stories published in Weird Tales, such as "The Black Druid" by Frank Belknap and "Notebook Found in a Deserted House" by Robert Bloch. This latter story's plot bears a strong resemblance to the An Ominous Stone questline that begins with .
- Another Lovecraftian association is how the drives its readers insane, gesturing to the mythos surrounding the fictional grimoire called the Necronomicon.
- The wicker constructs are derived from wicker man.
- Many of the aesthetic elements of the Drust are based upon The Blair Witch Project franchise, including the in-universe "twanas", used as the franchise's main symbol for the Blair Witch's magic.
- The circles made of stones seen in Drust-associated areas are likely based upon stonehenge.
- The runes used by the Drust, such as can be seen at Ulfar's Den or throughout Tirna Noch, are based on the Elder Futhark. Three runes commonly seen are Yngvi, Algiz, and an upside-down Laguz. The Yngvi rune also appears on the forehead of Kul Tiran druids when using .
- The Drust use of entrails for their magic is based upon real-world haruspicy.
- The Drust's role in the Drustvar storyline, that of an indigenous people haunting the descendants of the settlers who slaughtered them in the past, seems to be a variation on the Indian burial ground trope popularized by movies like The Amityville Horror.
- Drust Stele: Conflict showing Drust fighting "beings that look like themselves or great beasts" very likely refers to the civil war between the Thornspeakers, who could adopt druidic form, and the other Drust, or alternatively, the Winterskorn War.
- Mechagon Island might have originally been inhabited by the Drust, as traces of vrykul civilization can be found there.
- Given Fate's End is tied to Thros, and can only be accessed by the Tidesages, there may be a connection between the Tidesages and the Drust.
- There may be some connection between the Jailer and the Drust given the Cellblock Sentinel in Torghast, Tower of the Damned uses their construct model.
- ^ a b c d e f g The Lost Codex 2018-11-03. Blizzcon 2018 Interview: Alex Afrasiabi & Patrick Dawson - Story and Systems | The Lost Codex. YouTube. Retrieved on 2018-11-03.
- ^ a b Ulfar#Quotes
- ^ a b 2017-05-11, BlizzCon 2017 Jeremy Feasel Interview – World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2017-11-05
- ^ a b
- ^ Drust Stele: Conflict
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 133
- ^ a b c d e
- ^ a b c
- ^ Gorak Tul (tactics)#Adventure Guide
- ^ a b Waycrest Manor: Gorak Tul's speech after Lady Waycrest's death
- ^ Lord and Lady Waycrest#Adventure Guide
- ^ BlizzCon 2017: The Art of World of Warcraft, 2:50
- ^ a b
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment 2020-06-03. Shadowlands Preview: Ardenweald and the Night Fae Covenant. Archived from the original on 2020-06-03.
- ^ Ingra Maloch Adventure Guide
- ^ a b
- ^ Restored Revenant
- ^ Drust Stele: The Circle
- ^ Drust Stele: The Tree
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment 2019-11-01. BlizzCon 2019 - World of Warcraft: What's Next. Retrieved on 2019-11-02.
- ^ File:Drust Shaman concept.jpg
- ^ File:Drust Structure concept art.jpg
- ^ File:Drust Structures concept art.jpg
- ^ Drust Evoker
- ^ BlizzCon 2017: The Art of World of Warcraft, 2:50
- ^ MMO-Champion: Inside the Art of WoW Live Stream
- ^ Cole Eastburn 2021-03-25. Drustvar Shaman. ArtStation. Retrieved on 2021-03-25.
- ^ Drust Stele: The Ritual